Practice Summary

Michael specialises in the areas of tax litigation and tax dispute resolution, as well as employment law and public and administrative law including judicial review challenges involving Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs.

Michael has acquired experience in a range of Courts and Tribunals, including County Courts, First Tier (Tax) Tribunals, Employment Tribunals, the Court of Appeal (where he has appeared as sole junior Counsel) and the Privy Council.

Michael was appointed to the Attorney General’s ‘C’ Panel of Counsel at the earliest possible stage in his career, and has been a member of the Attorney General’s Panel since March 2013.

After pupillage Michael spent a year as a judicial assistant at the Court of Appeal to Lord Dyson & Lord Neuberger MR. During his time as a judicial assistant Michael wrote opinions on the merits of over 75 cases, including a number of landmark tax and public law cases. These included R (on the application of Davies & Gaines Cooper) v HM Revenue & Customs [2010] EWCA Civ 83 (Whether the Appellant taxpayers had a legitimate expectation that HMRC would apply the policies within its guidance document, IR20, in determining whether taxpayers were resident and ordinarily resident in the UK for tax purposes) and R v Chaytor & Ors [2010] EWCA Crim 1910 (the ‘MPs expenses case’ concerning whether Article 9 of the Bill of Rights 1689 entailed that 3 Members of the House of Commons and 1 Member of the House of Lords were immune from prosecution, having been indicted for false accounting contrary to section 17 of the Theft Act 1968).

Areas of Experience (Select to add to the CV download)

Tax

Recent instructions in this area have included:

• Working with a leading Magic Circle law firm on a multi-billion dollar international tax case concerning whether a contracting party A could enforce a tax debt under the terms of a bilateral tax treaty within the jurisdiction of the other contracting party B in circumstances where the determination of the tax debt in question offended rule of law and constitutionality principles intrinsic to B's legal system.

• Advising a leading recruitment company on the applicability of the DOTAS rules to claims for the employment allowance (s.1 NICA 2014) in a high risk situation for the group company, which included an undercover media sting in relation to an alleged national insurance avoidance scheme and an associated HMRC press release.

• Advising in a complex £12m corporation tax avoidance case involving beneficial loan arrangements.

• A series of instructions relating to HMRC’s powers under Code of Practice 9 (ongoing) (HMRC’s procedure for the civil investigation of tax fraud) (on-going).

Michael was Counsel for the successful taxpayer in RD Utilities v HMRC (TC/2013/02028), a case in which the First Tier Tribunal set aside an Information Notice on the basis of submissions concerning the Respondent’s misconceived approach to the proper construction of a Deed of Trust relating to an offshore company structure.

Public & Regulatory

Michael accepts instructions on all aspects of public and administrative law. He has particular experience of judicial review challenges to HMRC’s decisions and decision-making powers.

Recent instructions in this area have included:

R (Jimenez) v (1) the Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs & (2) the First Tier (Tax Tribunal) (ongoing): A judicial review of both HMRC’s and the FTT’s decisions concerning Schedule 36 FA 2008 Information Notices served upon the taxpayer. The case involved questions of public international law including the correct application of the principle of territoriality.

R (Biffin Ltd & Ors) v The Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs: An application for an interim injunction prohibiting Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs from enforcing an allegedly substantial tax debt. The underlying claim was for judicial review of HMRC’s decision to enforce payment of the debt, in circumstances in which there were outstanding appeals by the Claimants to the First Tier (Tax) Tribunal. The case concerned the question of forum non conveniens and the Union of Scotland Act 1706.

Re Code of Practice 9: A series of instructions concerning the scope of HMRCs powers and public law duties under Code of Practice 9 (civil investigation of fraud).

Re the EU Referendum: A potential judicial review challenge concerning the conduct of the various campaigning bodies prior to the referendum on membership of the EU.

Employment

Michael has experience in complex multi-week trials in the Employment Tribunal involving whistleblowing, unfair dismissal, TUPE, and all aspects of discrimination law. Michael has specific experience of dealing with human rights and public law issues within the employment context.

Michael’s practice in this area is predominately Respondent work for companies and local authorities.

Michael regularly appears in the Employment Appeal Tribunal and has in the past appeared in the Court of Appeal as sole Counsel. Michael is currently instructed by a central Government department (unled) in a case before the Court of Appeal.

Representative examples of Michael's employment practice include:

M v Chief Constable of North Yorks: Appearing for the (successful) Claimant, a serving firearms officer, in a three-week trial of the Claimant’s sex discrimination, whistleblowing, and aggravated damages claims in a case that generated substantial media interest in the national press (Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph, and Daily Mail).

Robert Hendy v Ministry of Justice [2014] EWHC 2535 (Ch) (23 July 2014) (High Court, Chancery Division) A four day contested interim injunction application brought by the former Master of Civil Appeals.

Methuen v CLC Solicitors (ET, EAT & Court of Appeal): Appearing for the Respondent at first instance and on appeal (in both the EAT and Court of Appeal ([2012] EqLR 880) in this age, race, and sex discrimination case.

Nevins & ors v Letchworth Garden City Council: Appearing for the Claimant in this breach of contract case in which the Respondent contended that the decision to revise the Claimant’s terms and conditions to make provision for enhanced notice pay (of 12 months) was irrationally generous and ultra vires.

 

 
 
 

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