Sam is a leading silk in public and regulatory law; and in tax litigation.  He won the Legal 500 2020 Tax Silk of the Year and was also shortlisted for the 2020 Public Law Silk of the Year. Sam has also been shortlisted by Chambers & Partners in the Tax Silk of the Year category in 2021.

Sam is regularly instructed by the top City law firms and accountancy firms.  His clients have included Irina Abramovich; Air Berlin; BPP; BT; Carlsberg; the Civil Aviation Authority; the Conservative Party; DHL; First State; General Healthcare Group; Glencore; the Government Legal Department; the Governments of Bermuda and Guernsey; HM Revenue & Customs; the Law Society; the Lord Chancellor; Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber; Thomson Reuters;  Molson Coors; Orange; Sky; Telefonica; Uber; and Veolia.  

As well as appearing at all levels of domestic Courts (including many cases in the Supreme Court) Sam has been involved in litigation in the European Court of Human Rights; the Court of Justice of the EU; Bermuda; Cyprus;  India and Mauritius. 

Sam started his legal career as a litigation solicitor at Freshfields in London and New York.  He moved to the Bar in 1995 and became a QC in 2011.  Sam was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in 2018.  

Sam is recognised in both of the leading independent legal directories and in addition to the rankings in his core areas of Administrative & Public Law, Civil Liberties & Human Rights and Tax, he is also recommended in Local Government and Education. In the Taxation field in Chambers UK 2018, Sam is described as being "a celebrated silk who attracts unreserved praise for his assured advocacy style"  and "an absolute class act; intellectually fabulous". For Administrative & Public Law, Chambers UK 2018 acclaims  him as "outstanding in every element- superb analysis, brilliant paperwork and a fantastic advocate". In the Education field in Chambers UK 2016, Sam is praised as "great for heavyweight public law challenges"  and "clients love him as he is so thorough and lovely to work with" and in Legal 500 2015 he is “recognised for his expertise in complex education sector issues.”   In the Local Government practice area in Chambers UK 2016 he is called “a brilliant public lawyer with a tremendously good reputation.” 




Sam has in recent years become widely recognised as one of the country’s leading tax practitioners, in particular in cases often involving the cross over between public law and tax; and cases involving VAT, excise duties, and other indirect taxes.  He regularly works both for and against HMRC. 


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Public & Regulatory

Sam has been involved in numerous leading cases in the public/regulatory arena.  His recent cases include being instructed in the Supreme Court for a housing charity, defending allegations of religious discrimination;  acting for the Lord Chancellor in the leading case on judicial immunity and declaratory relief against the judiciary under the Human Rights Act;  acting for one of the UK's largest offshore wind farms in a judicial review against Ofgem;  acting for Uber in a judicial review by the Good Law Project against HMRC, concerning Uber's VAT position; and acting for Glencore in a judicial review against HMRC concerning Diverted Profits Tax. 


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Civil Liberties & Human Rights

Sam regularly acts for and against central government and other public authorities in a wide range of civil liberties and human rights cases. Recent cases include acting for the Jewish and Muslim communities in a judicial review of a coroner's policy concerning religious burials (AYBS); acting for the Metropolitan Police in a Supreme Court appeal concerning whether the common law of breach of the peace is compatible with the ECHR (Hicks); and acting for the Secretary of State for Justice in the Supreme Court in a case concerning the lawfulness of cellular confinement (Bourgass).


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Sam has edited the Public Law Chapter in Bullen & Leake’s Precedents of Pleadings; and the Crown Proceedings Chapter in Halsbury’s Laws.


  • Sam was appointed as a QC in 2011 and a Deputy High Court Judge in 2018.  Before becoming a QC, Sam was on the Attorney General’s panels of Civil Counsel to the Crown for over 10 years, being appointed to the A Panel, at the earliest opportunity, in 2007.
  • Sam sat for several years on the Equality and Diversity Committee of the Bar Standards Board.


  • Administrative Law Bar Association
  • A founder member of the Human Rights Lawyers Association

Selected earlier reported cases

Public & Regulatory

  • JG v Lancashire County Council [2011] LGR 090
  • R (Cart) v the Upper Tribunal; R (MR)v the Upper Tribunal (Immigration & Asylum chamber) and Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] UKSC 28 
  • R (Global Knafaim Leasing Ltd & CGTSN Ltd) v the Civil Aviation Authority and ors [2010] EWHC 1348 (Admin)
  • R (Royal College of Nursing) v Home Secretary [2010] EWHC 2761 Admin
  • R v Rollins [2010] UKSC 39 
  • R (Chandler) v Camden LBC and Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families [2010] PTSR 749
  • R (E) v JFS School [2010] 2 AC 728
  • R (Wood) v Metropolitan Police Commissioner [2010] WLR 123


  • Carlsberg & Inbev v HMRC [2011] UKUT 195 (TCC) 
  • Thomas Holdings Ltd v HMRC [2011] UKFTT 656 (TC)
  • Banerjee v HMRC [2011] 1 All ER 985
  • JT Dove v HMRC [2011] UKFTT 16 (TC)
  • Coll v HMRC [2010] STC 1849
  • Seabrook v HMRC [2010] EWCA Civ 140
  • Burden v UK [2008] STC 1305


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