“Lauded for his incredible depth of expertise” (The Legal 500: VAT and Indirect Tax
“His reputation in the field is second to none” (The Legal 500: Tax Litigation)
“He has fought, and won, a lot of cases… his expertise enables him to look at and analyse a problem from many different angles and to assess not only the technical merits of an argument but also what HMRC’s view would be” (Chambers UK Tax Guide).
“A powerful and persuasive advocate” (Client)
Chartered Tax Adviser (Fellow)
Fellow of the Institute of Indirect Tax
Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
National President of the VAT Practitioners Group
Member of the Chancery Bar Association
Member of the Bar European Group
Editorial Board Member, De Voil’s Indirect Tax Service
Editorial Board Member, The Tax Journal
Examiner, Chartered Institute of Taxation
Michael is a senior and distinguished Queen’s Counsel, whose career has included practising at the Common and Commercial Law Bar, as a Senior Legal Adviser with HM Customs& Excise and, subsequently, as a tax partner in international law and accounting firms. He was called to the Bar in 1974, admitted as a Solicitor in 1991 and, having returned to the Revenue Bar in 1997, was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2002. He was Head of Indirect Tax at Hogan Lovells International LLP from 2012 until he returned to Chambers to practise in 2015.
For much of his career, Michael has specialised in indirect taxes with a particular focus on European Union law, acting for a wide range of clients in the banking, financial, insurance, real estate and retail sectors. He is an experienced tax litigator and has appeared as an advocate before all UK courts and tribunals and at the European Court of Justice. He represented the motor dealer claimants in the compound interest Group Litigation and Loyalty Management in its successful appeal to the Supreme Court relating to the Nectar Card scheme. He regularly advises charities in the arts and educational sectors (of which he is a particular supporter) and high net worth individuals with indirect tax issues.
As well as acting for many of the global players, Michael also enjoys taking cases from small businesses/professional firms, which often raise interesting or novel points of law or practice.
He has advised on professional negligence claims relating to tax, acted as an expert witness and sat as an arbitrator.
He is a frequent conference speaker and panel chairman.
Important reported cases
Chalke (FJ) Limited and another v. HMRC  STC 2027;  STC 1640
Astra Zeneca (UK) Limited v. HMRC (Case C-40/09)  STC 2298
HMRC v. Weald Leasing Limited  STC 1601; (Case C-103/09)  STC 596
Wilkins (John) (Motor Engineers) Limited v. HMRC  STC 2485;  STC 2418
HMRC v. Roger Skinner Limited  STC 2334
HMRC v. Loyalty Management UK Limited  STC 784
HMRC v. Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health  STC 1243
‘Littlewoods Retail: compound interest on overpaid tax’ – The Tax Journal, 25 April 2014
‘Littlewoods Retail: compound interest claim upheld’ – The Tax Journal, 5 June 2015
‘Pendragon: what’s new in VAT abuse?’ (with Rebecca Murray) – The Tax Journal, 26 June 2015
‘Larentia: the aims and broad logic of the Directive’ (with Rebecca Murray) – The Tax Journal, 7 August 2015
‘Rowe and accelerated payments’ (with Julian Hickey) – The Tax Journal, 4 September 2015
‘Hilden Park: a good walk spoiled’ – De Voil Indirect Tax Intelligence, September 2015