How to instruct James Kessler QC, Etienne Wong and Mary Ashley

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Why instruct James Kessler QC, Etienne Wong or Mary Ashley?

We spend most of our time giving independent specialist advice in private client matters including (though not restricted to) the taxation of charities.

If you want such advice you should instruct a barrister, but who and how? James comments: From time to time I need to choose a barrister myself. I go first by personal knowledge; second by personal recommendation; in the absence of that, by the quality of their publications, lectures, CV and (so far as ascertainable) reputation; and last of all, by comments in published directories. In my case I am Band 1 in Chambers Directory under the heading Private Client with the comment: "the first port of call for charities seeking tax advice". Etienne is a leading expert on VAT, former head of VAT at Clifford Chance, and responsible for the VAT chapters of ToC Online. Mary is an up-and-coming junior barrister and has often worked with James on charity tax issues.

How to instruct us

Prepare a summary of the facts and questions to be considered, with any documentation that seems relevant. Advice may be given by written opinion, in conference or over the telephone; advice given orally will be confirmed by an opinion or settled note of conference.

Who can instruct us?

Instructions can be given by solicitors, accountants, members of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, most other UK and overseas professionals.

We can also take instructions directly from charities or from the public.

It may be sensible for a lay person to involve their advisers at this stage, since if our advice involves taking any particular steps, it will be the accountant or solicitor who puts them into action, and who in due course completes tax returns, etc. For this purpose we will give recommendations if desired.


We think that Instructing Counsel is extremely good value.

In cases where a charity which we wish to support cannot be expected to pay a commercial fee, we will consider acting for less than a commercial fee or pro bono. If a matter is not suitable, for reasons of cost or any other reasons, we will give recommendations.

The next step

To discuss availability or obtain a fee quote, contact the chambers clerk or if appropriate James Kessler, Etienne Wong or Mary Ashley directly.