How to use a tax barrister


If you have been accused of tax evasion by HM Customs & Excise (HMRC) you should use a solicitor to assess your case and help formulate a plan of action. Your solicitor should have detailed knowledge of the particular tax or taxes that HMRC is stating you have not paid.

It is important to understand the main differences between a solicitor and a barrister, as they are not the same profession. A solicitor usually has direct contact with their client, and can in some circumstances act on their behalf.

A solicitor usually hires a barrister when your case is definitely going to go before a court. You can in some instances instruct a tax barrister directly, but this is rare. In most instances all of your instructions to your tax barrister will pass through your solicitor. The tax barrister you use will only speak for you in court. They will not contact HMRC or become any kind of intermediary as this is usually forbidden in law.

Any tax barrister you hire must have the relevant tax experience to conduct your case in court. The Bar Standards Board regulates all barristers. Note that this only applies to barristers practicing in England and Wales. Barristers in Northern Ireland are called ‘to the bar’ by the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, but they are still generally regulated by the Inns of Court in London. And barristers in Scotland are called advocates.

You can in some instances instruct a tax barrister directly without the need for a solicitor. However, because tax law is complex, a solicitor will be able to give you more day-to-day attention as your case moves through the courts system. Most tax cases will be better served by using a solicitor with detailed tax knowledge and a tax barrister that your solicitor may be able to recommend.

If you would like to obtain legal advice about tax barristers, Caven can put you in touch with a local specialist tax solicitor first free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local tax solicitors please call us on 08001 221 2299 or complete the web-form above.


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