was called to the Bar in 2006, having obtained a distinction on the BCL at Oxford University and a first-class law degree at the University of Nottingham. He won a number of academic prizes, including for tax law, and was awarded Hardwicke, Denning and Megarry Scholarships by Lincoln’s Inn. At Bar School he came top of his year, winning the Taylor and Buchanan Prizes.
Michael’s practice involves an even mix of advisory and litigation work and he is instructed to advise and represent in court both taxpayers and HM Revenue and Customs. In 2010 he was appointed by the Attorney General as Junior Counsel to the Crown (C Panel). He is recommended as a tax junior in Chambers and Partners.
The advisory side his practice covers the full spectrum of UK tax law but with a focus on all aspects of corporate and commercial tax and VAT work, including:
- the taxation of corporate finance (particularly loan relationships and derivatives)
- M&A (especially transaction structuring, tax deeds and warranties)
- shareholder taxation
- employment tax (including share schemes and EBTs)
- company reorganisations and reconstructions
- debt restructuring (including the tax treatment of debt-for-equity swaps, debt buy-backs and subordination)
- property taxation and SDLT
- tax aspects of “distressed M&A”, insolvency and restructuring
- the taxation of alternative investment funds, including private equity funds, hedge funds and property investment funds
- the tax treatment of trusts in a commercial context
In addition to advising on UK taxes, Michael has experience of advising on the tax laws of Hong Kong, Singapore and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
On the litigation side Michael is regularly instructed to act for both taxpayers and HMRC in relation to tax appeals, disputes and investigations across all areas of tax law, including direct tax, VAT and customs and excise matters, and has appeared in County Courts, the Tax Tribunals, the High Court, the Court of Appeal, the Privy Council and the CJEU.
He also has extensive experience of judicial review claims and other tax-related actions (including restitutionary claims against HMRC, enforcement proceedings and tax deed disputes). His recent experience in these areas include:
- Acting for the claimant in judicial review proceedings against HMRC in respect of the legality of their attempt to set-off a VAT credit against a self-assessment debt – R (oao Rouse) v HMRC
- Acting for the claimants in the Littlewoods compound interest litigation currently before the High Court.
- Acting for the claimant in a tax deed dispute concerning losses within a target company.
- Acting for the claimant in a dispute (involving contractual and restitutionary claims) following an unsuccessful structured finance tax transaction.
In addition to appearing in court, Michael is frequently involved in settling pleadings, advising on evidence and providing advice on litigation strategy.
Recent cases include:
Reddrock Ltd v HMRC  UKUT 0061 (TCC)
Blackwell v HMRC  UKFTT 103 (TC)
R (on the application of Rouse) v HMRC  STC 230
Our Communications Ltd v HMRC  UKUT 0595 (TCC)
Shop Direct Group and others v HMRC  STC 1709
R (on the application of TNT Post UK Ltd) v HMRC (Royal Mail Group Ltd, interested party)  STC 1306
Volkswagen Financial Services (UK) Ltd v HMRC  STC 716
UK Storage Company (SW) Ltd v HMRC  STC 361
Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP v HMRC (Case C-392/11)  STC 136
Edwards Beers & Minerals Limited v HMRC  UKFTT 283 (TC)
Barkas v HMRC  UKFTT 186 (TC)
Degorce v HMRC  SFTD 806
LLB (Hons) (1st Class), BCL (Oxon) (Distinction)