Denis Edwards was called to the Bar (Middle Temple) in 2002 and admitted to the Scottish Bar as an Advocate in 2012. Following a judicial assistantship in the Court of Appeal, he developed a strong practice in public law and EU law before focusing on tax cases, with a specialism in VAT and the law on customs & excuse duties.
Denis advises and represents both taxpayers and public authorities in a wide range of tax cases. He has substantial experience of tax litigation, including judicial reviews and appeals in both the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal. He previously represented HMRC in both direct and indirect tax cases, having been one of the Attorney General’s Panel of Counsel for 5 years.
Denis taught law for 10 years before coming to the Bar. He continues to offer training events in tax and related legal subjects and is also a teacher in several professional legal education programmes both in the UK and internationally.
VAT [all areas including grouping, classification of supplies, public sector VAT, historic claims]
Customs Duties [customs & excise, post-Brexit FTAs, origin, classification & tariffs disputes]
EU Law [EU tax, free movement and non-discrimination, state aid, procurement]
Judicial review [e.g. HMRC powers, accelerated payment notices, retrospective assessments]
Enquiries and investigations [COP 8, COP 9, DOTAS non-notification, offshore assets]
Direct Taxes [income tax, corporation tax, allowances, residence rules]
Education, Professional Memberships and Appointments
LLB (Hons), Dip LP, University of Glasgow
LLM, Osgoode Hall Law School
Revenue Bar Association
VAT Practitioners Association
Bar European Group
Administrative Law Bar Association
Directories - Professional Recommendations
Chambers & Partners has ranked Denis in recent years. Comments have included:
"A measured and thorough advocate”
“Reasonable, affable and measured”
“He has an impressive range of legal knowledge and is able to reduce things down to a level that makes things look simple”.
Denis has appeared in several important tax cases decided by courts and tribunals at all levels. These include:
Lothian Health Board v. HMRC  CSIH 14 (standard of proof for proving amounts of overpayments of VAT in breach of EU law; scope of the San Giorgio restitutionary principles; role of tribunals in determining overpayment amounts)
Coin-a-Drink Ltd v. HMRC  STC 1351 (whether repayments of overpaid VAT plus interest were subject to corporation tax given that the repayments were remedial; whether taxation of repayments complied with effectiveness principle)
Macaw Properties v. HMRC STI 1465 (entitlement to deduct property renovation expenses from liability to pay value added tax; definition of ‘commercial purposes’ of expenses and ‘economic viability’ of project)
Huhtala v. HMRC  STC 2226 (whether claim for transport and mooring costs of a barge used as a home while writing a book were wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the taxpayer’s trade)
West Country Vending Service Ltd v. HMRC  STI 2544 (whether VAT was chargeable on food supplied on business premises from a vending machine on the assumption that it would be consumed there)
Future Components Ltd V. HMRC  UKFTT 101 (VAT repayment claim made in time because the 25 day period for HMRC to verify the claim not counted towards the time limit for repayment)
Harding v. HMRC  STC 3499 (exemption from capital gains tax for gains realised from loan notes with a currency conversion option; whether such loan notes ‘qualifying corporate bonds’)
Fleming & Conde Nast! v. Commissioners for Revenue & Customs  1 WLR 195 (House of Lords: representing taxpayer in a claim for repayment of overpaid VAT (sales tax); the case was described in the Financial Times as the leading VAT case of the decade)
In addition, Denis has appeared in these leading cases decided by the supreme courts:
South Lanarkshire Council v. Coface SA  CSIH 15 (construction of commercial contracts; construction of performance bond guaranteeing compliance with environmental obligations)
Scottish Environmental Protection Agency v. Liquidators of Scottish Coal Limited (Court of Session, Inner House) (whether liquidators have the power to disclaim environmental licences and permits held by the insolvent company; whether there can be ‘ownerless land’ in Scotland; what EU environmental law requires of domestic law on insolvency)
Saint Prix v. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions  UKSC 49; Case C-510/12 (representing the UK Government in the UK Supreme Court, defending a claim that a pregnant woman retains "worker status" in EU law for the purposes of article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU and article 7 of Directive 2004/38/EC).
R (Payne and Cooper) v. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions  2 WLR 1 (representing UK Government in the UK Supreme Court in a claim concerning the implications for social security law of a person’s insolvency)
R (Rogerson) v. Ministry of Defence
Denis has published notes and articles in leading law journals including the Law Quarterly Review, the International & Comparative Law Quarterly and the American Journal of Comparative law.
Denis is also the co-author of the leading textbook on judicial review in Scotland (Clyde & Edwards, Judicial Review).
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