Special Advocacy Scheme
- Chartered Institute of Taxation
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
- The Chartered Association of Certified Accountants
Purpose of the scheme
This Scheme is for members of the Participating Professional Bodies (PPBs) who wish to secure the services of members of the Revenue Bar Association (RBA) for representation in straightforward cases at First Tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) in England and Wales at reduced fees. Cases most suitable for representation under this Scheme are:-
- penalty cases under the Taxes Management Act;
- small back duty cases;
- cases which involve a short legal (or possibly technical) point where little tax is at stake;
- appeals against notices to produce documents;
- applications for direction to complete enquiries;
- surcharge and serious misdeclaration cases at the VAT Tribunal.
The final decision as to the suitability of cases rests with the RBA member.
How to use this scheme
If you have applied for, or been informed that a case is listed for hearing before either of the First Tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) and you wish to use the Scheme, select a participating RBA member from the list at the end of this page. Initial contact should be made with the Clerk to whom you should provide the following details:-
- your name;
- your wish to use the Special Advocacy Scheme;
- key details of the case;
- location, date and time of case (if known).
Subject to acceptance by the RBA member selected that the case is straightforward and that he or she accepts it under the terms of the Scheme, the matter becomes a normal transaction between the parties.
RBA members will normally…
- Read the papers in the case.
- Decide if the case is appropriate to the Scheme and whether it is worth fighting.
- Give pre-hearing advice, mainly about what needs to be done in preparation for the hearing.
- Attend the hearing and represent the appellant.
Generally, there will be a standard fee to cover the work outlined in the preceding section for cases that are accepted under the Scheme. The standard fee will be £950 (plus VAT). If it is decided not to proceed with the case, a charge of £450 (plus VAT) will be made to cover the work the Barrister has undertaken in reaching that decision. Where hearings are outside London, the standard fee will be subject to additional reasonable expenses of travel and overnight accommodation. Where an RBA member feels that a suitable case under the Scheme is at the heavier end of Scheme cases, it is open to the Clerk to seek to negotiate an increase on the standard fee. Conversely, if you feel that the case is so small, it ought to be done for less than the standard fee, you should raise this with the Clerk.
The RBA and the PPBs are confident that the Scheme will be operated in good faith. It is impossible to lay down hard and fast rules as to what type of cases are suitable for the Scheme, but the following details may be helpful:-
- Cases which are likely to last more than one day are unsuitable.
- Any case which turns on evidence is likely to last for the best part of a day. Where a case has been accepted and runs into second or subsequent days, further fees will be charged for such additional days.
- The Scheme is primarily for cases where, without the Scheme, you might have conducted the appeal personally, but felt you lacked the advocacy experience to do full justice to the case.
- Cases which involve a substantial amount of money are not suitable for the Scheme, even when they may be short and fairly uncomplicated. At 2002 values, if a case is likely to involve tax penalties and interest of more than £40,000, it is not suitable for the Scheme.
PPBs will review the operation of the Scheme towards the end of each year. Browse the list of participating chambers
"The RBA promotes a high standard of professional advice and advocacy in the complex and ever-changing world of tax."
Jonathan Peacock QC, RBA Chairman 2013-2016