Undoubtedly the biggest and best tax set in London.

Legal 500, 2018

  • Is instructing a barrister expensive?

    Instructing a barrister need not be expensive. Our fees are calculated case by case, based on the time commitment required of the barrister in question, the complexity of the case and the degree of responsibility involved. Under this flexible system, fees for advice on smaller, simpler matters can start from as little as £250 plus VAT.

    In addition, the Joint Advisory Scheme and Special Advocacy Scheme enable certain bodies to instruct some of our barristers at very preferential rates.

    Any concerns over fees should be directed to our Senior Clerk who will do his utmost to find a mutually acceptable arrangement.

  • Can I instruct a barrister directly?

    We accept instructions from solicitors or, under Licensed Access, accountants and members of other authorised bodies. Some of our Barristers can also accept instructions directly from members of the public under a scheme known as Public Access.

    For further information please refer to How to instruct us, under About.

  • Isn't it expensive to instruct a barrister to appear in court or before a tribunal?

    No. The preparation of a case is important and (if done properly) time consuming. A barrister will accept instructions to appear for a fixed fee, or the Brief Fee (plus “refresher” if the case goes into a second or subsequent day). This will include preparation of the case as well as appearance at the hearing itself. The cost will often compare favourably with the hourly rates that an accountant or solicitor would charge for the preparation and hearing. It also allows you to know in advance how much the litigation will cost.

    Members of the ICAEW Faculty of Taxation can instruct barristers in smaller matters for a fixed fee of £950 plus VAT (including preparation, advice and a day in court) under the Special Advocacy Scheme.

    For further information please refer to How to instruct us, under About.

  • Do I have to come to Chambers to speak to Counsel?

    No. Many conferences, particularly those involving pure points of law are handled over the telephone. There will however be some matters where a face to face meeting will be preferable. Generally this will be in Chambers, but Members can travel to a location convenient for you and your client (although this may increase the fee). Alternatively we can arrange video conferences.

    In particular, if you have a number of clients with issues to be addressed by Counsel it may be beneficial for a number of conferences at your premises to be arranged on the same day. Such arrangements could also take the form of a seminar. All enquiries of this sort should be made to the clerks.

  • Should a note be taken of oral advice?
    Yes. However it is quite difficult for Counsel to take a note of advice whilst he or she is giving it and we would normally rely on those attending Counsel to take such steps. You should send the note (preferably by email so allowing easy amendment) to Chambers shortly after any meeting. It will then be checked, signed by Counsel and sent back to you. However, if you would like a very junior Member of Chambers to take a note for you, this can be arranged at very little additional cost. Indeed we welcome this approach as it will result in a very accurate note of the advice, which will be produced very quickly.
  • Does a solicitor need to be instructed for a barrister to go to Court?

    A barrister will normally be instructed by a solicitor if he is to appear in the County Court, High Court, the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court or the CJEU (if the matter is referred by one of these courts). However the Bar Council’s rules have recently (2004) been relaxed and in some circumstances barristers may be instructed directly, for advocacy, without a solicitor being involved. Please see our “How to Instruct us” section for more detailed advice.

    There is no requirement for a solicitor to be involved where a matter is before the Tax Tribunals, or even the CJEU if referred by those tribunals.

    For further information please see our How To Instruct Us page.

  • Can Barristers in the same Chambers appear against each other?
    Yes – Barristers are self-employed and entirely independent from one another. As the leading Tax set we are often instructed by both sides of a dispute. Our clerks are well used to clerking cases in which we appear for multi-parties and you will be assigned your own specific clerk(s) who will deal with only you, not any other party. This is a unique advantage enjoyed by the Bar as it allows the advocates in a case to liaise easily, narrow the issues and consequently save costs.
  • What is the difference between a QC and a Junior?

    QC or “Silk” has traditionally been the recognition of a Barrister who excels in the field of advocacy. This does not mean that someone who has not taken Silk and remains a Junior is any less successful, able or experienced in his or her field. It is simply that their practice and expertise has been concentrated in advisory work rather than litigation. This is especially so at the Revenue Bar where much of the advice sought will not involve litigation.

    Additionally some of our Members have joined the Bar from other specialised professions, which has given them invaluable experience relevant to their particular field of tax which would have been impossible to gain from the Bar.

  • When (and why) do I need a QC and a junior?
    It is no longer a requirement that a junior be instructed with a QC. However, it will often be advantageous to instruct a junior, particularly in complicated matters. This is because there will invariably be work which the junior can do as easily as the QC, and more cheaply, such as discovery, preparation of bundles, first drafts of documents and so on.
  • What should I send when instructing a barrister?

    As well as a clear indication of the advice required, Instructions should include:

    • List of documents
    • Summary of facts (including background information)
    • Arguments already considered or advanced by the other side
    • Any relevant correspondence, especially correspondence had with HMRC
    • Questions to which answers are and are not required
    • An indication of the amount of money involved
    • Whether the advice should be in writing
    • When the advice is required (giving a precise date if possible)
    • An indication of whom Counsel should contact with questions and/or to give the advice
  • What documents should I include?
    Copies of all relevant documents should be included. If there is any doubt as to whether the document is relevant, it is preferable to include it rather than leave it out. In particular, all copies of all trust, contracts, leases and other legal instruments should be included.
  • Should I send the original documents?
    No. Copies are usually sufficient (and sending copies avoids the risk of originals being lost in the post and so on). If Counsel needs to see the originals they can be asked for or brought to conference.
  • How formal need the instructions be?
    There is no need for the instructions to be in any particular form. It is much more important that they are comprehensive and include the information and documents indicated above than that they are produced in the traditional form (with a back sheet and so on). However, whilst Members of Chambers are happy to go through bundles of un-audited documents, this may add substantially to the cost of advice, although this may again be mitigated by the use of our very junior Barristers.
  • Can I send instructions by fax?
    Yes. We are happy to accept instructions by fax, although faxed instructions should still be as comprehensive as possible.
  • Can I send instructions by email?
    Yes, to clerks@pumptax.com, although, again, the instructions should still be comprehensive.
  • Can we arrange a video conference?
    Yes. We have access to video conferencing facilities and are happy to make the arrangements.
  • Why have you asked for Money Laundering client identification?
    The Tax Bar, unlike many other areas of the Bar, considers itself clearly within the remit of the regulated sector. Unfortunately this requires us to take steps to identify not just the Professional client (i.e. those instructing us) but also the lay client.
  • What are the default contractual terms?
    Click here for our terms.
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