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Seek wise counsel

02 July 2013 / Mark McLaughlin CTA (Fellow)
Issue: 4409 / Categories: Comment & Analysis , Investigations

Pointers on instructing a barrister appropriately and effectively


  • Why do the vast majority of tax practitioners have no experience of instructing tax counsel?
  • Access to tax counsel is not restricted to certain members of professional bodies.
  • Clerks will be able to advise regarding suitable barristers and fee levels.
  • Practical guidance on instructing counsel.
  • The level of background required by the barrister will depend on the action required.

The title of this article has biblical connotations. The Bible’s Book of Proverbs states “Without counsel plans fail but with many advisers they succeed”; also: “Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war.”

Those words of wisdom were obviously not directed specifically at tax advice or tax planning and “wage war” is perhaps a melodramatic metaphor for dealing with HMRC; nevertheless the underlying message...

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