Emma Chamberlain OBE

"Emma is really extraordinary in how forward-thinking and imaginative she is."

Chambers & Partners
  • Call: 1998


Emma Chamberlain specialises in tax and trust advice for private clients, trusts and charities. Her practice is focused particularly on IHT and CGT as well as advising foreign domiciliaries and trustees. She frequently advises on taxation issues in connection with divorce and family issues, on BPR and APR and on residence, remittance and domicile enquiries. In some circumstances Emma is able to accept instructions via Public Access.

Emma regularly writes for Tax Journal, Private Client Business, Tax Adviser and British Tax Review. Articles include an analysis of the reservation of benefit provisions in Tax Journal, IHT reform, and an analysis of the Finance Bill 2020 provisions. For a technical analysis of the new provisions affecting excluded property trusts see Emma's article in BTR. For Emma's most recent article in the BTR on the OECD report on IHT round the world, click here. For a discussion of ROB and IHT see attached article. She has recently written about reform of capital taxation. Emma's most recent Inheritance Tax article on Multiple trusts can be found here.

In 2020 she was one of the three co-authors of the final report produced by the Wealth Tax Commission on whether an annual or one off wealth tax was feasible for the UK. For FAQs, please see the website or click here. For details of the evidence papers informing the final report, including Emma's own contribution on design, please click here.

A copy of Emma's privacy notice can be found here.



Emma has written various technical articles.  These include:

She is author of various books including:

  • Co-author of “Trust Taxation & Estate Planning” (4th Edition), Sweet & Maxwell (Aug 2014) (please see S.T.E.P. review here). One reviewer noted: “I am confident that Winston Churchill would have forgiven me for misquoting him- albeit in context – when I say that never in the field of trust taxation was so much owed by so many to so few…this as is the case of all books produced by these two very clever lawyers, is a real tour de force.” A new edition is coming out in 2020. A 5TH EDITION IS CURRENTLY BEING WRITTEN AND WILL BE OUT LATER THIS YEAR.
  • Co-editor of “Dymond’s Capital Taxes”
  • Co-author of “Pre-Owned Assets and Estate Planning (3rd Edition)“, Sweet and Maxwell, (2009)
  • Co-author of Mirrlees Report IFS “Wealth and Wealth Transfer taxes” OUP 2009
  • Co-author of “Inheritance Tax Planning before 6th April 2008”, Sweet and Maxwell (2008)
  • Contributor to “Current Issues in Succession Law” Hart Publishing 2016


Shelford and others v HM Revenue and Customs [2020] UKFTT 53 (TC)

Emma Chamberlain acted with William Massey KC and Oliver Conolly (all Pump Court Tax Chambers) for the taxpayer in the above case.  This was an appeal concerning the correct inheritance tax analysis of what is commonly called a “Home Loan” or “double trust” scheme.  There were reputedly 30,000 such schemes done and as people die they have been increasingly challenged by HMRC since about 2011.

In this case the deceased Mr Herbert contracted in 2002 to sell his house to an interest in possession trust for himself. The purchase price was left outstanding as an interest free loan repayable on the settlor’s death and he then gave away that loan to the children. The purpose of the scheme was to remove the value of the house from the settlor’s estate for the purposes of inheritance tax, whilst enabling him to continue to live in the house rent-free for the rest of his life. HMRC attacked the scheme on a number of grounds including reservation of benefit, non-deductibility of the debt under s103 FA 1986 and associated operations. For further analysis of these grounds see Dymonds Capital Taxes Chapter 47 and PCB [2013] 46.

The FTT did not consider any of these IHT issues but held that the arrangements did not amount to a valid contract for the sale of land as they did not comply with section 2 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989. In effect nothing had occurred and the house remained in the deceased settlor’s estate. The FTT therefore found for HMRC and dismissed the appeal. Jonathan Davey KC acted for HMRC with Thomas Chacko (Pump Court Tax Chambers). The judgment is very much limited to the particular facts of this case; not all home loan arrangements will be caught by this judgment as the documents in double trust schemes vary widely.

The full judgment can be read here.

Glyn v HMRC [2018] UK FTT 219

Residence case. Emma Chamberlain acted with Patrick Way KC (Field Court Tax Chambers) for the taxpayer Mr Glyn. He had run a family business with his brother. Following his retirement and move abroad, he received a large dividend from the company. The sole issue in question was whether Mr Glyn had ceased to be resident (under the law as it stood prior to the introduction of the statutory residence test in 2013) in the UK for the tax year in which he received the dividend. After initial success at the FTT in 2015 the Revenue successfully appealed to the Upper Tribunal and the case was remitted back for rehearing without oral evidence. Mr Glyn lost the second time round when a newly constituted FTT held that he had not made a sufficient “distinct break”.

The full judgment can be read here.

Cooper-Hohn v Hohn [2014] EWHC 4122 Family Courts

Emma Chamberlain acted as tax counsel for the husband in this big money case regarding a split of assets between the divorced couple.

The full judgment can be read here.

Directory quotes

The Chambers Guide

Tax: Private Client
Ranking: Star Individual

“She has one of the biggest brains at the Bar and is technically amazing. She is really extraordinary in how forward-thinking and imaginative she is.” (2022)

“She is enormously knowledgeable. Emma is a genius; she knows more than almost anyone about trusts and tax.” (2021)

“The go-to person for technical advice on trusts and tax” and “simply the best in the private client sector.” “When positions are uncertain she has the ability to sit down and get matters agreed with the revenue. She really goes in to bat for you.” (2020)

The Legal 500

Private Client: Personal tax
Ranking: Leading Junior, Tier 1

‘Is the barrister who actually knows what she is talking about and doesn’t get lost down technical rabbit-holes. She will actually tell you the right answer.’ (2021)

‘Has a superb understanding of HMRC’s thinking and likelihood of challenge; strong technical knowledge, commercial and practical-minded advice.’ (2020)

‘She is extremely bright, practical and hardworking.’ (2019)

Chambers and Partners High Net Worth

Tax: Private Client
Ranking: Star Individual

An exceptionally well-known and highly respected tax junior with an impressive reputation for her handling of tax and trust advice. She is a particularly fine choice of counsel for offshore matters and is regularly trusted by high net worth individuals. Such is her standing that she was recently awarded an OBE for ‘services to government tax policy’. Emma is described as “one of the biggest brains at the Bar and is technically amazing.” “She is really extraordinary in how forward-thinking and imaginative she is.” (2022)

Emma Chamberlain has a fantastic reputation in the market as a senior junior, with one fellow barrister enthusing: “Emma is a real star. She is probably the best junior in the world – she is the best junior for private client work.” The source continues: “She is enormously knowledgeable. Emma is a genius; she knows more than anyone does about trusts and tax.” (2021)

Emma Chamberlain is a standout senior junior with a spectacular reputation for complex tax matters. “If I had to name one tax barrister who has an ironclad knowledge of her subject, it would be Emma,” says an instructing solicitor, adding: “Emma literally wrote the book on the issues on which we instructed her, and her working knowledge of how HMRC is responding at any given point in time is incredibly useful. Her relationship with them also lends her opinions an additional weight, in my view.” (2020)


23 October 2020

STEP: Thought Leadership Webinar Series.

02 July 2020

IFS: Is it time for a UK wealth tax? Webinar. For further details please click here.

June 2020

STEP Annual Tax Conferences is recording the IHT update given by Emma as part of the popular annual tax series and this will be broadcast to delegates with a live question time.

01 May 2020

Private Client Update: Budget 2020 and recent cases. The recording of this Bridge the Gap seminar is available for purchase here.

09 May 2019

Longmark Tax Conferences Ltd presents: The Annual London Private Client Tax Planning Conference

28 March 2019

Tax Update for Foreign Doms and Non-Resident Clients – SPRING EDITION

07 September 2018

CIOT- Annual Tax Conference

09 May 2018 (Birmingham), 15 June 2018 (Leeds), 29 June 2018 (London)

STEP UK Annual Tax Conference 2018

28 June 2018

Informa Conference: Tax update for Foreign Doms and Non-Resident Clients

10 May 2018

Longmark Tax Conferences Ltd Presents: London Private Client


  • Member of Tax Law Review Committee IFS
  • Chair of Chartered Institute of Taxation Private Client Succession Taxes Committee
  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation & former Council member
  • Member of the Wealth Tax Commission
  • Trustee of London Music Fund
  • S.T.E.P. (Technical Committee)
  • Chancery Bar Association
  • Revenue Bar Association
  • Member of the advisory board for the Resolution Foundation: Standard Life Foundation wealth project


  • Admitted as a Solicitor, 1986
  • Called, 1998
  • Visiting Professor of Law at University of Oxford (Taxation of Global Wealth on the MsC in Taxation course)
  • Visiting Professor in Practice at LSE


In 2008, 2015 and 2017, she advised Treasury and HMRC on the major changes to foreign domiciliaries and on IHT residential property.

She sat on the consultation group that assisted in devising the statutory residence test. This was finally implemented in April 2013.

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