I started writing this blog in 2013, after nearly two decades as a barrister, because I wanted to put my professional experience and technical knowledge to use in the wider policy debate around tax. In particular, I wanted to shed some light on some of the questions and common misconceptions around tax and tax avoidance in the UK. I should say, in order to be transparent, that I work in many of the areas I cover in this blog. I have responded to the moral aspects of my professional practice here.
This blog is now acknowledged as a hub for thought-leading debate, and a number of ideas originating here have found their way onto the statute books as well as the Manifestos of both major political parties. This blog is frequently referred to by the major print and broadcast media.
In my professional life, I am a Queen’s Counsel specialising in litigating tax cases. I am listed as a Leading Practitioner in Who’s Who Legal, Legal 500, Chambers and Partners, International Tax Review and others.
Alongside my professional practice, I have a longstanding commitment to equality and diversity. I was Chair of the Fatherhood Institute from 2008-2013, Vice Chair or Chair of Gingerbread from 2006-2011, and have sat on the Equality and Diversity Committee and the Retention Sub-committee of the Bar Council since 2010. I won’t speak on all-male panels larger than two in size, but am happy to point to the many women experts in the tax field. The Women in Tax group is another good source of expert comment.
I’ve been asked what drives me to write about tax – and how it can be that I work in this area yet hold left wing views. I was born in the UK and moved with a single mother to New Zealand at age one. I was adopted in New Zealand. I had a difficult time at home and, from the age of 16, supported myself as a cleaner and then a secretary. At 17, I came to England initially living with an old family friend in a pit village in the North East where my grandfather’s family had lived. I worked for several years, initially as a clerk, at the BBC where I wrote a play for Radio 4 and a feature for Radio 3, before studying law. I feel keenly the need for more voices in public debate who have experienced poverty, who do not come from privileged backgrounds, and who view public policy as it impacts on people’s real lives.
I am politically unaffiliated although I have advised the Labour Party on tax policy, in particular around non-doms, and have an active interest in better-informed tax policy across the political spectrum.
You can contact me through Devereux Chambers on 020 7353 7534.
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Thanks for such informative writing.
i love the idea of transparency…………perhaps you know Henry Harrod too?
Heard you at the CFO agenda today. Interesting discussion.
Slightly unfocused – but glad you found it useful.
I guess you’re aware of the legal challenges from Maitland and Mishcon de Reya too? http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jul/05/deadline-approaches-government-response-brexit-legal-challenge-article-50
A number of issues have occurred to me. Let us say the prime minister triggers article 50 without the support of Parliament, and she proceeds with the necessary legislation to eliminate EU laws. If parliament do not support her or rejects some or all of the new legislation, then surely the country enters into chaos, because the train leaves the station in two years and the railway lines and destination stations have not been built.
The second issue is that the longer time the PM takes to make the decision, then the more Britain is out of touch with the EU and is not involved in their continuing projects (possibly including re-introduction of projects that the UK rejected). This makes it difficult for the UK to be reintroduced into EU policy making at a later date.
Is there any possibility that the referendum result could be taken to court, or examined by a High Court Judge/House of Lords/Parliament, and due to lies told by the Brexit side the result is set aside?
interested in helping you with social media/digital stuff. Legal and political bent, as well as professional digital skills.
I am very pleased and thankful that you have brought up the issue of the revocability of notice under Art 50, Irish-British relations and acquired rights. I have been going on about these in the Guardian forums for some time without eliciting much interest. I could not understand how MPs were expected to vote on Art 50 notice without knowing whether Art 50 notice was revocable. I also find the Labour Party’s position baffling. I will be making a modest contribution to your crowdfunding.
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I voted Leave but see massive value in the Norway option – EFTA/EEA. I am not convinced of a hard Brexit particularly having read a large amount of Dr Richard North’s website …..
To me the only possible negative of his Flexcit plan is the real ability to have some control over immigration using the EEA Agreement Article 112 Safeguard measures. The Lichtenstein option. An unfortunate title as it suggests only useful for small countries. But the real use is it can be UNILATERALLY enacted by member countries.
If a similar legal clarification could be obtained for Article 112 as for your Article 50 challenge then the soft Brexit plan is firm & enables a smooth exit from the EU. Can a funding option be pursued for this challenge too ?
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RE: Grenfell….nobody will tell me how the surviving victims are surviving without papers…..but I also just read something that they are able to obtain medical from some ‘charities’ because of the papers problem….I’m in need myself….who are these charities? anybody? please….?
Hi Jake, If you need medical help, I’m aware that Doctors of the World are giving medical support to those without full documentation. You can find them here https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/find-our-clinic. Hope that helps, Jo
Thank you Jolyon…I’ll give it a look, but what they are doing is illegal though….? I’m probably too far out in the sticks though anyway…..:-( What I really need more than that is legal representation and access to basic things such as bank accounts, born and bred UK….but I think I’m right in saying it is illegal for you to even speak to me without papers?
yep, no good to me 😦
I write in hope, for fear of despair. Your August blogs on a new party and your speech a few days later were a rallying cry for me (like it or not I’m afraid). So I’ve been waiting for more on that with baited breath…. There are lots of people talking about a new party now, but most of them are totally missing the twin fundamental points which I was so delighted you made in “What is a new party for?” on 15th August. You prompted me to get my own thoughts along similar lines into the public realm at last (see below). Meanwhile Vince Cable has made his speech on inequality, and how tax reform could help (https://www.libdems.org.uk/cable-inequality-full-speech-060915). The other parties have had their conferences, and unless you have some inside information, there’s no hope of splits or new formations.
Are you trying to get a new party going? If not, what do you think about getting behind Vince? It seems like an unlikely prospect to me, an old stager tainted by the coalition government, but for want of anything better? If you don’t feel able to say anything in public yet, I would be so pleased if you could take a moment to send word privately. My husband shakes his head, bemused at my political despair, but what are we to do? I can’t bear standing by while the politicians re-arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.