About Chambers

The Set:

Old Square Tax Chambers is a leading set of specialist tax chambers, founded in 1968.

Individually, members have specialist expertise and each member practices independently. However, they are able to exchange ideas and share knowledge and experience within chambers, building up a substantial pool of expert learning in tax law and practice.

Members are supported by an experienced senior clerk, Anthony Hall, who will discuss the level of fees before work is done and where appropriate will advise as to the most suitable member to deal with any particular matter.

The approach of chambers is based on its experience that it is seldom sufficient to advise on a tax question in isolation. It is important to take into account all the taxes which may be relevant, as well as the other legal constraints and the business or personal considerations which may influence a client’s course of action. Members seek to view a client’s problem in the round, looking for opportunities to improve upon whatever plan of action has been proposed.

Members have an enthusiasm for problem-solving, a reputation for discretion and aim to give advice which is practical and helpful, and to express it in terms which the client can understand. They also relish litigation where it is the right course for the client.

In giving advice, members’ objective is to be innovative but avoid expensive and time-consuming disputes with the HMRC. In handling contested disputes, members strive to achieve an acceptable result short of litigation.

Members of chambers are happy to travel outside London and to meet clients in their own offices, as appropriate.

Types of work undertaken:

Old Square Tax Chambers specialises in all aspects of tax advice, whether corporate or for private clients and including issues relating to trusts and estates, VAT and Customs and Excise matters. Members appear as advocates before all UK courts and tribunals as well as the European Court of Justice. They provide independent advice in conference (in person or telephone) or by written opinion and draft key documents where necessary to implement that advice. Particular areas of expertise include multinational corporate structuring, advising entrepreneurs, employment remuneration, non-UK resident companies and trusts, foreign domiciliaries, stamp duty, stamp duty land tax and VAT.

All members have a wider area of expertise but the following indicate certain specialities. Robert Venables QC’s specialities include litigation, trusts, EC, offshore and international, VAT and remedying botched planning. James Kessler QC is a founder member of STEP with particular interest in offshore trusts and companies, foreign domiciliaries and charities.

Members are usually consulted on difficult or controversial points of law and in relation to complex structures. They are also instructed to act as advocates in tax appeals and other tax-related litigation. They are instructed by solicitors and also directly by accountants and other professionals under the Bar Direct Scheme.

As well as taxation expertise, some members are experienced in areas such as trust law, partnership, company law and financial services law, and land law, which often relate to tax problems. Philip Simpson QC is a member of the Scots Bar, Harriet Brown is a Jersey advocate, and James Kessler QC is a member of the Bar of Northern Ireland.

Chambers aims to maintain its controlled expansion, with increasing emphasis on litigious work and VAT.

Publications:

Members have written and contributed to a significant number of major works including the following:

Drafting Trusts & Will Trusts, James Kessler QC

Individual Tax Residence, Setu Kamal

Inheritance Tax Planning, Robert Venables QC and Amanda Hardy

The Interaction of EU Treaty Freedoms and the UK Tax Code, Rory Mullan and Harriet Brown

The Jersey Law of Trusts, Harriet Brown

Non-Resident Trusts, Robert Venables QC

Taxation of Charities and Non-Profit Organisations, James Kessler QC and Oliver Marre

Taxation of Foreign Domiciliaries, James Kessler QC

Taxation of Foundations, Robert Venables QC

Taxation of Trusts, Robert Venables QC

Tolley’s Disclosure of Tax and VAT Avoidance Schemes, Patrick Cannon

Tolley’s Property Taxation, Patrick Cannon (editor), Rory Mullan and Harriet Brown (contributors)

Tolley’s Stamp Taxes, Patrick Cannon

Tolley’s Tax Planning, James Kessler QC and Oliver Marre (contributors)

Whiteman & Sherry on Income Tax, Setu Kamal (contributor)

Members also publish articles in the major tax periodicals each year.

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