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Advocacy Scheme

This Scheme is for members of the Participating Professional Bodies (PPBs) who wish to secure the services of members of the Revenue Bar Association (RBA) for representation in straightforward cases at General Commissioners’ and Special Commissioners’ Hearings, or VAT Tribunals in England and Wales at reduced fees. Cases most suitable for representation under this Scheme are:-

  • Penalty cases under the Taxes Management Act;
  • Small back duty cases;
  • Cases which involve a short legal (Or possibly technical) point where little tax is at stake;
  • Appeals against notices to produce documents;
  • Application for direction to complete enquiries;
  • Surcharge and serious misdeclaration cases at the VAT Tribunal.

The final decision as to the suitability of cases rests with the RBA member.

How to use the Scheme

If you have applied for, or been informed that a case is listed for hearing before either the Commissioners or the VAT Tribunal and you wish to use the Scheme, select a participating RBA member from the list at the end of this page.

Initial contact should be made with the Clerk, to whom you should provide the following details:-

Your name;
Your wish to use the Special Advocacy Scheme;
Key details of the case;
Location, date and time of case (if known).

Subject to acceptance by the RBA member selected that the case is straightforward and that he or she accepts it under the terms of the Scheme, the matter becomes a normal transaction between the parties.

RBA members will, in normal cases:-

  • Read the papers in the case;
  • Decide if the case is appropriate to the Scheme and whether it is worth fighting;
  • Give pre-hearing advice, mainly about what needs to be done in preparation for the hearing.
  • Attend the hearing and represent the appellant.


Generally, there will be a standard fee to cover the work outlined in the preceding section for cases that are accepted under the Scheme. The standard fee to the end of 2004 will be £950 (plus VAT).

If it is decided not to proceed with the case, a charge of £475 (plus VAT) will be made to cover the work that Barrister has undertaken in reaching that decision.

Where hearings are outside London, the standard fee will be subject to additional reasonable expenses of travel and overnight accommodation.

Where an RBA member feels that a suitable case under the Scheme is at the heavier end of Scheme cases, it is open to the Clerk to seek to negotiate an increase on the standard fee. Conversely, if you feel that the case is so small that it ought to be done for less than the standard fee you should raise this with the Clerk.

Additional Information

The RBA and the PPBs are confident that the Scheme will be operated in good faith.

It is impossible to lay down hard and fast rules as to what types of case are suitable for the Scheme, but the following details may be helpful.

Any case which turns on evidence is likely to last for the best part of a day. Where a case has been accepted and runs into second or subsequent days, further fees will be charged for such additional days.

The Scheme is primarily for cases where, without the Scheme, you might have conducted the appeal personally, but felt you lacked the advocacy experience to do full justice to the case.

Cases which involve a substantial amount of money are not suitable for the Scheme, even when they may be short and fairly uncomplicated. AT 2001 values, if a case is likely to involve tax penalties and interest of more than £50,000 it is not suitable for the Scheme.

PPBs will review the operation of the Scheme towards the end of the year.

Participating Barristers

11 New Square, Chambers of John Gardiner QC, First Floor, Lincoln’s Inn, London WC2A 3QB
Tel: 020 7242 4017 Fax: 020 7831 2391
Email: Website:
Jolyon Maugham, Philip Walford

Pump Court Tax Chambers, 16 Bedford Row, London WC1R 4EB
Tel: 020 7414 8080 Fax: 020 7414 8099 DX London 312
Email: Website:
Rupert Baldry, Julian Ghosh, James Henderson, Andrew Hitchmough, Adrian Shipwright, Richard Vallat, Elizabeth Wilson, Jeremy Woolf.

9 Stone Buildings, Chambers of Vivien Chapman, Lincoln’s Inn, London WC2A 3NN
Tel: 020 7404 5055 Fax: 020 7405 1551 DX 314 LDE Chancery Lane
Email: Website:
John Smart, Richard Wilson

11 Stone Buildings, Chambers of Edward Cohen, Lincoln’s Inn, London WC2A 3TG
Tel: 020 7831 6381 Fax: 020 7831 2575 DX: 1022 Chancery Lane
Douglas Keel

3 Temple Gardens, Chambers of Richard Branwell QC, Temple, London EC4Y 9AU
Tel: 020 7353 7884 Fax: 020 7583 2044
Email: Website:
Eamon McNicholas, David Southern, Jonathan Schwarz


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