James Kessler, Q.C.

James Kessler, Q.C.
James Kessler, Q.C. James Kessler, Q.C. James Kessler, Q.C.

E-mail: kessler@kessler.co.uk

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  • James Kessler QC is particularly interested in taxation of foreign domiciliaries, offshore entities of all kinds, and trusts, wills and charities.  Other interests include prosecution of tax crime in complex cases, particularly along the avoidance/evasion faultline, and freedom of information.
  • Recent cases include: Embiricos v Revenue & Customs [2019] UKFTT 236
  • James has practiced as a barrister since 1985 and was appointed QC in 2003. He is also a member of the Bar of Northern Ireland.
  • He is in Band 1 in Chambers Directory in the Private Client Tax category, with a reference to "acumen and remarkable thoroughness of thought" and in Band 1 in the Legal 500 directory which comments: "The leading expert on the taxation of non-domiciled individuals."
  • James is one of the founders of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, for whom he drafted the STEP Standard Provisions, and a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation.
  • James has received the Geoffrey Shindler Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Profession (STEP Private Client Awards, 2011).
  • James became Head of Chambers in 2015
  • James Kessler Barrister Privacy Notice

    Recent Matters

    James Kessler QC and Ross Birkbeck - Embiricos v HMRC [2019] The First Tier Tribunal has decided in favour of the taxpayer in Embiricos v HMRC TC/2018/03753, in the first decision to examine the scope of the Partial Closure Notice regime introduced by Finance (No2) Act 2017.   In a ruling that could have wide application in the enquiry process, Judge Robin Vos accepted Mr Kessler’s submissions that the Court of Appeal decision in R (Archer) v HMRC [2017] EWCA Civ 1962 did not apply to partial closure notices, and that a partial closure notice in respect of the taxpayer’s domicile could be issued despite HMRC not yet knowing the amount of tax that was due as a result of their decision on the domicile issue. 10 April 2019


    James has appeared in many leading cases including:

    James Kessler QC and Ross Birkbeck - Embiricos v HMRC [2019]

    Ardmore v HMRC [2014] (location of source of interest for UK tax purposes - citability of unpublished Special Commissioners decisions)

    R v IRC ex p. Unilever (Judicial review of HMRC)

    IRC v Dawson (Trust residence)

    Wensleydale's Settlement Trustees v IRC (Double taxation treaties and trusts)

    R v Dimsey & Allen (Family home and benefits in kind; HMRC prosecution)

    Phizackerley v HMRC (Nil rate band discretionary trusts)

    Burns v HMRC (Transfer of assets abroad)