Hot 100: Melanie Hall QC, Monckton Chambers

Not many barristers can claim to have saved the taxpayer £20bn in the past year, but that is exactly what Monckton Chambers’ Melanie Hall QC (scroll down for video interview) did in 2012.

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The razor-sharp advocate successfully defeated a challenge by sandwich chain Subway over its tax obligations while also defeating a test case on landfill tax.

Hall started her career in the masculine world of construction law before joining Monckton Chambers, where she developed a specialism in VAT cases. “I enjoyed the challenge of it,” she says.

A tenacious and well-respected advocate, Hall has acted in landmark cases that have shaped the structure and boundaries of VAT and other indirect taxes. She takes the most complex of cases and constructs simplistic and persuasive arguments.

Hall is passionate about advocacy and enjoys being on her feet in court; she is happiest when quizzing a witness on the stand, although that is only a fraction of her practice. Lawyers say cross examination comes naturally to her, although much of her work has been advisory.

Since taking silk in 2002 Hall has acted for household names including Boots, Vodafone and Abbey. With the Subway case and landfill tax dispute awaiting a decision on permission to appeal, Hall is in demand more than ever.

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