Melanie Hall QC

Call 1982 | Silk 2002
QC BA (Dunelm)

+44 (0)20 7405 7211

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“Silk of the Year” for tax as awarded by Legal 500 UK, Melanie Hall QC has been described as a “tough opponent for anyone at the Bar, whatever their seniority”, “a force to be reckoned with for the most sophisticated of VAT disputes” a “creative and independent thinker“, a “razor sharp advocate“, ”very user-friendly”. “She just litigates properly”, “one of the most able indirect tax practitioners at the Bar”, “Impeccably well prepared, fiercely clever and down to earth. She demonstrates absolute command of the subject matter and is an unflappable advocate.” Her “tenacious court room style place her in high demand” though she is also described as “polished and charming“. Melanie has been an acknowledged leader in the field of VAT for many years. She is a tenacious and well-respected advocate who is respected for her ability to communicate complex points of law to both clients and courts with simplicity and clarity. She has a particular reputation for rigorous cross examination, thorough legal research and effective and persuasive presentation. Her background as a commercial litigator and EU Law specialist is particularly valued by clients. Since Melanie acts for and is therefore respected by both HMRC and the private sector, each set of clients can take comfort from the fact that any legal opinion she expresses will be respected by the other side.

Melanie is a member of the editorial board for The Tax Journal and a Trustee of Somerset House and of The Circle, a charity she co-founded with Annie Lennox. She is an Honorary Fellow of Law at Durham University.

  • VAT

    Melanie’s cases have shaped the structure and boundaries of VAT and other indirect taxes. For example she has defended the legality of the very existence of VAT on hot takeaway food; the Aggregates Levy; the UK’s VAT Grouping legislation and the Landfill Tax. Over the years she has appeared in other key cases such as Mobilx, Southern Primary and the Mirror Group before the Court of Appeal and in cases such as Redrow, Eastbourne Radio Cars and Taxis and Dr Beynon before what is now the Supreme Court. She is well versed in the VAT regime of the Isle of Man and its relationship with the EU, particularly with regard to the aviation sector. She is also a well known and respected advocate in Luxembourg where she has argued cases before the European Court of Justice such as EC v UK on VAT Grouping, TNT, The Wellcome Foundation, Midland Bank, Abbey National, and Kretztechnik. There are very few areas of VAT upon which she has not advised.

    Melanie represents HMRC in its most high profile and complex cases. She is also frequently engaged by taxpayers, representing a broad range of household name clients which include local authorities, hoteliers, universities and charities (large and small), high street retailers, publishers, banks and other financial institutions, telecommunications providers, pharmaceutical companies, premier league football clubs, gambling operators, property developers, pension funds and Housing Associations


  • What the Directories Say

    Well-known silk in the field who excels in VAT matters, EU law and complex corporate tax litigation” – Corporate Tax, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2019

    Tax: Indirect Tax: “Impeccably well prepared, fiercely clever and down to earth. She demonstrates absolute command of the subject matter and is an unflappable advocate.” – Chambers UK, 2019

    Leading silk in Tax: corporate and VAT: ‘‘Excellent for indirect tax work.’’Legal 500, 2018

    Tax: Indirect Tax: “A superb barrister who is both clear and knowledgeable.”Chambers UK, 2018

    Leading silk in Tax: corporate and VAT: ‘‘Consummate in VAT and broadly one of the most able indirect tax practitioners at the Bar.’’Legal 500, 2017

    Tax: Indirect Tax: “She is very user-friendly.” “She just litigates properly.”Chambers UK, 2017

    Leading Silk in Tax VAT Law: “To be found in complex VAT and landfill tax cases.” Legal 500, 2016

    Tax: Indirect Tax: A “very talented and very thoughtful” advocate who, according to market commentators, “thinks through all the various options for clients.” “A fearsome opponent in court.” “Very user-friendly and has a good depth of knowledge.”Chambers UK, 2016

    Leading Silk in Tax VAT Law: “Very good at explaining complex legal issues clearly and concisely.”Legal 500, 2015

    Tax: Indirect Tax: “She is a real VAT specialist who has a lot of experience on both sides of disputes (HMRC and taxpayer). A creative and independent thinker who, at the same time, is receptive and sympathetic to the views of those instructing her.”Chambers UK, 2015

    ‘Excellent attention to detail and clarity of thought.’ Melanie Hall QC is ranked as a leading Silk in Tax: Corporate and VAT Law – Legal 500, 2014

    Under Tax: Indirect Tax: “A force to be reckoned with for the most sophisticated of VAT disputes, she has enjoyed success on behalf of clients ranging from major organisations to HMRC. ‘Melanie is hugely well prepared, very thorough and has a pleasingly direct client manner.'” Chambers UK 2014

    Clients value highly Melanie Hall QC’s ‘ability to apply deep insight, and respond immediately to changing circumstances with agility and sagacity’.” Recommended as a leading silk under Tax: Corporate & VAT. Legal 500 2013

    Recommended as a leading Silk under EU and Competition Law. Legal 500 2013

    “A razor sharp advocate” The Lawyer, 2013

    “The “very tenacious” Melanie Hall QC is a tough opponent for anyone at the Bar, whatever their seniority. Her knowledge of VAT and customs duties is such that she has been engaged in some of the most important indirect tax cases of recent years. Recently, she acted in British Aggregates Association v European Commission, a case concerning the legality of the Aggregates Levy that went on appeal to the ECJ.” Chambers UK, 2013

    Under EU and Competition Law Melanie Hall QC is described as ‘informative, helpful and determined.’ – Legal 500, 2012

    Under Tax: Corporate and VAT Law: “Melanie Hall QC has the ‘drive and determination that clients seek’.” – Legal 500, 2012

    Melanie Hall QC is regarded as “calm, collected and analytically spot-on” by commentators. Her recent work has included the major Calltel, Mobilx and Blue Sphere VAT case in the Court of Appeal. – Chambers UK, 2012

    Tax: Corporate and VAT states that Melanie Hall QC “is ‘very thorough and always well prepared’, and appeared in Calltel, Mobilx & Blue Sphere.” Legal 500, 2011

    Recommended in Tax: Indirect Tax in Chambers UK, 2011 “the “polished and charming” Melanie Hall QC, handles VAT and customs duties matters, often appearing in the House of Lords and the ECJ. Sources say that she “always presents compelling arguments before the most demanding of tribunals.”

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