Stewarts to launch tax litigation team to capitalise on boom in tax disputes

Stewarts Law will launch a tax litigation group in 10 weeks’ time to hone in on the swathe of tax-related cases hitting the courts. 

The new specialist group will join the litigation firm’s nine specialist areas, which include the most recent groups, international arbitration and employment litigation.

The firm has been planning to set up a tax litigation practice for the past year to target individuals and corporates with high volumes of high-value tax cases. Stewarts said it would build out the group from a small base and consider further lateral hires next year.

It is not known who will lead the new team. Last year the firm launched an international arbitration group last year with the hire of former Mayer Brown partner Philippa Charles (25 February 2013). Stewarts also launched an employment litigation group in 2010 with Simmons & Simmons associate Tim Spillane joining as a partner.

Its other groups include aviation and travel, clinical negligence, divorce and family and personal injury. The firm’s strategy of targeting high-value litigation across a range of sectors has helped it quadruple its turnover from £11.9m to £45.2m between 2007/08 and 2012/13 (16 July 2014).

The structure of the firm’s offering has altered dramatically over the past five years, having beefed up its commercial litigation group so match its formerly personal-injury dominated practice.

Among its heavyweight cases is the shareholder battle brought against the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) (18 August 2014). The firm is joined by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Leon Kaye in fighting the bank over a 2008 rights issue prospectus which investors allege “material misstatements and omissions”, set to be a key fixture in the courts next year (18 September 2013).

Tax litigation is an increasing focus for litigation boutiques. Last year Pump Court Tax Chambers’ Graham Aaronson QC joined forces with former One Essex Court barrister Joe Hage and a team of tax litigators from Dorsey & Whitney to launch boutique Hage Aaronson, focusing on ultra high value disputes (11 March 2013).