Field Court Tax Chambers

David Southern
the perfect balance between technicality and practicality

David Southern KC

Call: 1982 / Silk 2014

David specialises in commercial tax, including direct tax, VAT and pension schemes and in all forms of tax litigation, including tax investigations and judicial review.

He has appeared in courts at all levels, ranging from the Magistrates’ Court, all Tax Tribunals, the Administrative Court and Court of Appeal, to the House of Lords and European Court. He also has extensive experience of work for overseas tax authorities.

Until 2020 he was Director of the School of Tax Law at Queen Mary, University of London, and maintains his links with academia.  He is the sole author of Taxation of Loan Relationships and Derivative Contracts (Bloomberg), now in its 10th edition.   

Before beginning independent practice at the Bar, he worked in the Inland Revenue and for Lloyds’ Bank.  He is a former Treasurer of the Bar Council. 


Indirect Tax
Respected silk for indirect tax matters, who regularly acts for the taxpayer. He is experienced in VAT, HMRC investigations and accelerated payment notices.
Strengths: “He is always courteous and responsive.” “His charismatic presentation style in court and expert analysis of technical VAT issues are his key strengths.”
Recent work: Acted in NHS Lothian Health Board v HMRC, a case seeking to obtain payment of historic under-recovered input tax from HMRC.

LEGAL 500 – 2021
Tax: corporate and VAT
‘Highly analytical. Draws on wide range of legal expertise. Quick to understand the underlying commercial and operational issues. Conclusions given are clear and decisive.’

The following are other extracts from professional guides and directories:

“He has an advisory and litigation practice concentrating on general direct and indirect tax issues, including those concerning VAT. He is a noted authority on tax as it relates to derivative contracts and loan relationships. – Chambers and Partners 2015 – Indirect Tax

“Not only an excellent advocate, also a sharp and entertaining sparring partner to exchange thoughts with” – Legal 500, 2020

“Strikes the perfect balance between technicality and practicality.” “Among the most sensible and approachable members of the tax Bar.” Legal 500, 2017

“He is very approachable and able to think outside the box” “A leading expert on the taxation of loan relationships” Legal 500, 2016

“A master of detail, and an excellent advocate with a measured and forensic style” – Legal 500, 2014

Please find below a selection of cases that David Southern KC has been involved in:

R&C Comrs v. Premiere Picture Ltd [2021] UKFTT 0058 (TC) First-Tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber)

R (on the application of Cartref Care Home Ltd and others v R&C Comrs [2020] EWCA Civ 1744 Court of Appeal

Hopscotch Ltd v R&C Comrs [2020] STC 2313 Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber)

Charles Tyrwhitt LLP v R&C Comrs [2020] SFTD 1213 First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber)

Milton Keynes Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v R&C Comrs [2020] UKUT 231 Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber)

Ripley & Co Ltd v. R&C Comrs [2020] UKFTT 0062 (TC) First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber)

R (on the application of Cartref Care Home Ltd and others v. R&C Comrs [2020] STC 516 Queen’s Bench Division (Administrative Court)

Airways Pension Scheme Trustee Ltd v Fielder [2019] EWHC 3032 (Ch) High Court (Business and Property Court)

Saint-Gobain Building Distribution Ltd v R&C Comrs [2019] SFTD 924 First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber)

Brain Disorders Research LP v R&C Comrs (Court of Appeal) 2018 EWCA Civ 2348 Court of Appeal

Vaccine Research Limited Partnership v. R&C Comrs [2018] UKFTT 597 (TC) First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber)

R (on the application of Carlton and others) v R&C Comrs [2018] STC 589 Queen’s Bench Division (Administrative Court)

R (on the application of Rowe and others) v HMRC [2018] STC 462 Court of Appeal

Copthorn Holdings Ltd v R&C Comrs (No.2) [2016] STFD 17 First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber)

R (on the application of Walapu) v R&C Comrs [2016] STC 1682 Queen’s Bench Division (Administrative Court)

R (on the application of De Silva and another) v R&C Comrs [2016] STC 1333 Court of Appeal

to follow

Mr Southern charges for work on a fixed fee, hourly rate or daily rate basis. Information about current fee levels can be obtained from the Chambers’ Administrators ( Additional contact details can be found on the Contact page. If requested, the Chambers’ Administrators are happy to provide you with an indication of fees (which will usually be a band with an upper and lower limit).

The Chambers’ Administrators are also happy to provide you with an indication of how long a particular piece of work is likely to take. If you have a particular deadline Mr Southern will let you know in advance whether that is feasible. He will always endeavour to meet a client’s timescale, but his ability to do so will depend on the amount of work involved and his pre-existing commitments (in particular if he is involved in tribunal/court proceedings). He will let you know if there is likely to be any problem in meeting a deadline.

Mr Southern always aims to provide the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service provided to you, then you should inform us as soon as possible. Details of our complaints procedure, together with details about making complaints to the Legal Ombudsman, can be found here.

Mr Southern is regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB). The Barrister’s Register on the BSB’s website can be found here.

VAT number: 696 5441 89