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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