In 2013 Devereux Chambers’ Ingrid Simler QC (scroll down for video interview) will take on HM Revenue & Customs when she examines the tax authority’s relationship with Goldman Sachs.
It isn’t Simler’s first step into the limelight. Last year she represented Haringey Council, which had sacked director of children’s services Sharon Shoosmith, in the wake of the Baby P case.
It was, she says, the biggest disappointment of her career and a far cry from her career high, when she beat two Goliaths of the bar David Goldberg QC of Gray’s Inn Tax Chambers and One Essex Court’s Tony Grabiner QC in the Supreme Court. Judgment in that dispute, Gaines-Cooper v HMRC and Davies & Anr v HMRC, came in October 2011 just ahead of her being appointed as head of chambers (10 January 2012).
Not bad for a silk who was told by her Cambridge director of studies that the bar was no place for a woman.
Simler was called in 1987 where she found a workplace dominated by men and where women were expected to make the tea. She quickly got involved with the Bar Council’s Equality and Diversity committee, becoming chair in 2007, and has built a career around employment law as well as tax litigation. She also sits as a deputy high court judge.
Tax litigators are in demand. For Simler the next year will about leading further growth of Devereux Chambers as well the judicial review of HMRC’s £10m settlement deal with Goldman Sachs, one of The Lawyer’s top cases of 2013. In addition she continues to work with the Bar Council.
“It is rewarding,” she says of her myriad of roles. “There are times when combining my the role [as head of chambers] with my practice can be challenging but overall it has been a very good year.”