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Nikhil Mehta
Nikhil Mehta

was born in what was then called “Bombay”. His mother and father were brain and general surgeons respectively, although his father decided on a small career shift in his mid-forties by becoming a tax lawyer and an expert on foreign exchange control law in India. He described it as moving from being a “doctor of health” to becoming a “doctor of wealth”.

He is the only person he knows who chose to do tax for emotional reasons because he wanted to work in chambers in Mumbai with his father and his uncle, Mr Sanat Mehta, who was a pre-eminent senior tax advocate. So the choice they gave him was simple: tax law or tax law.

After being called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn and completing Chancery and tax pupillages, he enrolled as an Indian advocate and practised tax law in Bombay. Practice was great fun, not least because there were many small briefs in chambers suitable for a junior advocate.

He returned to the UK and, after a very brief spell in tax publishing, he joined the (then) Inland Revenue Solicitor’s Office in Somerset House as an employed barrister. He worked in collection and enforcement, which tended to be a conversation stopper in social gatherings. Following that, he joined Linklaters where he requalified as a solicitor. He remained there for eighteen years, thirteen as a partner. In 2001, he became one of the first tax solicitor-advocates .He joined Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in London as the firm’s first UK tax partner in 2002. He was readmitted as a barrister in 2009 and joined chambers in 2010.

Over 25 years’ experience as a City tax lawyer has exposed him to a huge range of tax work and has taught him that a really effective tax adviser has many facets, of which technical expertise is only one. He believes a barrister should be no different in this respect, whether undertaking advisory or advocacy work. His practice includes advising on UK and Indian tax laws in both corporate and private client areas.

He is married with two sons, a daughter-in-law and, most recently, a beautiful granddaughter. The family’s trades, professions and vocations are an eclectic mix including art, surgery, chartered surveying, film production and playing with toys.