Akash Nawbatt QC is a leading silk in tax and employment law specialising in high value complex disputes and advisory work. He regularly appears in tribunals, the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court and has also appeared in the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts.
Prior to his silk appointment, Akash was a member of the Attorney General’s panels (A, B and C) and was also a member of the Panel of Counsel for the Equality and Human Rights Commission. He has been a Case Reviewer for the Bar Pro Bono Unit since 2013 and between 2006 – 2020 was a Contributing Editor of Harvey on Industrial Relations and Employment Law.
Akash’s expertise in both his specialist areas of practice is recognised in the directories: “Frighteningly smart, and has an understated quality that works amazingly well with clients”; “A very personable advocate who manages to calm the client down. His analysis of cases is impressive and his advice is extremely clear and helpful” (Chambers UK, 2020); “A future star of the Bar who is very good on detail, very hardworking, easy to deal with and great with clients”, (Legal 500 2020).
Specialises in tax and employment law, and is a strong choice for employment tax and disguised remuneration matters. He also handles the full range of corporate tax including capital allowances and domicile issues. Nawbatt acts for both the Revenue and taxpayers. "Shows a great willingness to get to grips with the issues, and is very personable and diligent." Acted for the HMRC in Credit Suisse v HMRC, a case concerning the application of the Bank Payroll Tax - Tax, Chambers UK Bar 2021.
A well-liked tax silk with in-depth experience of representing both taxpayers and HMRC. He is noted for his exceptional strength in cross-border work, and is an expert on questions of residence and domicile. "His attention to detail on the facts is fantastic and he is thoroughly nice." "He is brilliant at cross-examining and analysing the documents." Advised HMRC in Hargreaves v HMRC, a residence appeal brought by the owner of Matalan - Private Wealth: Tax - UK, Chambers Global 2021 & Tax: Private Client, Chambers UK Bar 2021.
Dedicated silk who handles discrimination, worker status and whistle-blowing cases at all court levels, including the High Court and the Court of Appeal. He is regularly instructed by large banking clients and government institutions. "He's very good on complex legal arguments, innovative in his approach and has in-depth knowledge." "He's seriously outstanding in tax and employment crossover cases." Successfully acted for HMRC in a case considering the new Managed Service Company legislation, affecting employment status and IR35 - Employment, Chambers UK Bar 2021.
"Very hardworking and diligent, and invests the time to understand matters in depth. He also handles clients well and is an excellent advocate." - Employment, Legal 500 2021.
Akash Nawbatt QC is well known for his work with HMRC. He also has expertise handling private client tax matters. A fellow barrister notes: "Akash is very good; he is one of the Revenue's go-to silks. His attention to detail on the facts is fantastic and he is thoroughly nice." "He is really brilliant; you cannot fault him," says one interviewee, while another industry source says: "He is brilliant at cross-examining and analysing the documents." - Tax (Private Client), Chambers High Net Worth 2020.
‘HMRC's top choice for residence and domicile matters.’ - Private Client: Personal Tax, Legal 500 2021.
‘A popular and long-standing choice for HMRC.’ - Tax: Corporate, Legal 500 2021.
"Great and his attention to detail is excellent." "He's excellent not only in technical tax matters but also where there's a judicial review piece of litigation which engages public law." - Tax, Chambers UK 2020.
"Frighteningly smart, and has an understated quality that works amazingly well with clients." "A highly persuasive advocate." Represented Pimlico Plumbers in a test case determining the employment status of the plumbers engaged by the firm - Employment, Chambers UK 2020.
"A very personable advocate who manages to calm the client down. His analysis of cases is impressive and his advice is extremely clear and helpful." "He's got a great mind. His ego never gets in the way and he's a pleasure to work with." Advised HMRC in Charman v HMRC, a multimillion-pound residence appeal involving one of the leading figures in the international insurance and reinsurance market. - Tax: Private Client, Chambers UK 2020.
"A future star of the Bar who is very good on detail, very hardworking, easy to deal with and great with clients." - Employment, Legal 500 2020.
"Particularly strong on issues of public law as applied in a tax context." - Tax: Corporate, Legal 500 2020 .
"He has a track record in employment law in free zones." Akash Nawbatt QC is particularly noted for handling cases concerning the system of penalties for late payments to employees under DIFC employment law. - Commercial, Legal 500 United Arab Emirates (English Bar) 2020.
‘A good advocate.’ - Commercial, Legal 500 United Arab Emirates (English Bar) 2019.
"He has great attention to detail and he is great to work with." "He gives calm, sensible and commercial advice and he is always thinking ahead in terms of strategy." Acted in Guiney v Intel, whistle-blowing and discrimination proceedings brought by a senior sales executive against senior managers of the technology company. - Employment, Chambers UK Bar 2019
A respected member of the Tax Bar who is well known for his work representing either HMRC or the taxpayer. He is particularly expert in matters concerning residence and domicile. "He is a fearsome cross-examiner and I have suffered at his hands quite a lot. He is someone to be reckoned with; if you have him on the other side you need to be well prepared." - Tax: Private Client, Chambers UK Bar 2019
"A fearsome cross-examiner," who "really gets to grips with the detail of a case." Successfully represented HMRC in a USD300 million dispute with Marathon Oil concerning the construction of Section 164 of the Capital Allowances Act 2001. - Tax, Chambers UK Bar 2019
‘A tenacious advocate who has taken the jump to silk in his stride.’ - Employment, Legal 500 2019
‘His technical knowledge is first rate.’ - Private Client: Personal Tax, Legal 500 2019
‘Excellent legal analysis and advocacy.’ - Tax (Corporate), Legal 500 2019
Akash Nawbatt QC is well regarded for his work in representing both HMRC and private clients in tax disputes. "He is superb and his client care is very good; he's very responsive and very sensitive to clients who are getting bad news," says an interviewee. "He is a fearsome cross-examiner and I have suffered at his hands quite a lot," reports a fellow barrister, adding: "He is someone to be reckoned with; if you have him on the other side you need to be well prepared." - Tax (Private Client), Chambers High Net Worth 2018
Newly appointed silk who handles discrimination and whistle-blowing cases at all court levels, including the High Court and the Court of Appeal. He is regularly instructed by large banking clients and governmental institutions. “An exceptionally bright and hard-working advocate. He is incredibly personable and fast on his feet. His ever-growing reputation and talent has been recognised in his recent promotion to QC. He is one of the leading silks of the future.” Represented Pimlico Plumbers in a test case involving the employment status of the plumbers engaged by Pimlico. - Employment, Chambers UK 2018
"Expert at cross examination." Acted in Charman v HMRC, judicial review proceedings challenging the Tax Dispute Resolution Board's refusal to approve a multimillion-pound settlement recommended by the HMRC's inspectors handling the case. - Tax, Chambers UK 2018
"A favourite corporate tax barrister among solicitors." - Tax (Corporate), Legal 500 2017
"An impressive trial lawyer, who easily navigates fact-heavy cases and cross-examination." - Tax (Private Client), Legal 500 2017
"An extremely proficient advocate." - Employment, Legal 500 2017
"Has an agile legal mind and is a very confident and measured advocate." - Tax, Chambers UK 2017
Handles discrimination and whistle-blowing cases at all court levels, including the High Court and the Court of Appeal. He is regularly instructed by large banking clients and governmental institutions. Clients are impressed with his tribunal skills, noting his diligent and personable approach."He quickly grasps what the case is about and is insightful, technically strong and very client-friendly." "He is extraordinarily bright and very easy to work with - clients love him as he always puts the client at ease." Instructed in Chu and Others v British Airways, a complex group race and age discrimination case brought by Hong Kong cabin crew surrounding the retirement age within British Airways. - Employment, Chambers UK 2017.
Akash specialises in high value discrimination and whistleblowing cases and complex contractual disputes ranging from remuneration issues, the enforcement of restrictive covenants and claims of inducing breaches of contract, fiduciary duty and confidence. Akash also has particular experience in dealing with issues of employment and worker status in both the employment and tax tribunals and frequently advises on the taxation of all aspects of employee remuneration (including National Minimum Wage issues).
Significant recent cases include:
Lee v UBS (2020) – acted for UBS in high value discrimination claim involving issues of territorial jurisdiction.
ED&F Man v Hussain and others (2019) – acted in the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts in respect of claims for breach of post-termination restraints and conspiracy.
Pimlico Plumbers v Smith  UKSC 29 – leading case on worker status; appeared in ET, EAT, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
British Airline Pilots Association v British Airways Cityflyer Ltd  EWHC 1889 – High Court application for interim declaration in respect of alleged breach of contracts of employment.
Akash Nawbatt has extensive experience of advising and representing HMRC and taxpayers in tax disputes before the Tax Tribunals, the High Court, Court of Appeal, House of Lords and the Supreme Court.
Akash has particular expertise in and has appeared in many of the leading tax cases on domicile, individual, corporate and treaty residence, the correct tax treatment of employment income (including IR35 and the Managed Service Companies legislation) and the DOTAS regime. He also has significant experience of cases involving the cross over between public law and tax.
Significant recent cases include:
Fowler v HMRC (2020) – Supreme Court case on the correct interpretation and application of the employment article of the UK / South Africa DTC.
HMRC v Hicks  STC 254 – Upper Tribunal decision on the correct construction and application of the conditions for making discovery assessments.
Development Securities Plc v HMRC (2020) – leading case concerning the correct application of the principles of corporate residence (Court of Appeal hearing listed for October 2020).
R (Derry) v HMRC  STC 926 – Supreme Court decision on the correct statutory enquiry procedure for share loss relief claims.
Hull City AFC (Tigers) Ltd v HMRC  UKFTT 227 – Leading case on the correct approach to the tax treatment of image rights payments.
Christianuyi Ltd v HMRC  1 WLR 5272 – Court of Appeal decision on the correct interpretation and application of the Managed Service Companies legislation.
Akash has extensive experience of advising on and acting in cases concerning the correct tax treatment of employment income.
He has appeared in a number of the leading cases on IR35 including:
Akash also has significant expertise in employment status (having acted at all levels up to and including the Supreme Court in Smith v Pimlico Plumbers  UKSC 29) and the managed service company legislation (having acted in Christianuyi v HMRC  EWCA Civ 474 and R (PML) v HMRC  EWCA Civ 2231).
Akash has dealt with numerous investigations, stemming from harassment accusations through to allegations of bulling by senior employees at multi-national companies. Akash has worked on internal investigations in the financial sector arising out of FCA investigations and criminal proceedings and also has experience of employment cases arising out of FCA FX investigations.
February 2017 - Appointed QC
2013 - Junior Counsel to the Crown (A Panel)
2008 - Junior Counsel to the Crown (B Panel)
2004 - Junior Counsel to the Crown (C Panel)
2001-2002 - Judicial Assistant to the Senior Law Lord (Lord Bingham)
ELA, ELBA, ILS, RBA
Prince of Wales Scholarship, Gray's Inn