John Brinsmead-Stockham

Called 2005

John undertakes a wide variety of advisory and litigation work in all areas of tax law. He has advised on matters ranging from inheritance tax and SDLT planning to major corporation tax and VAT disputes between multi-national companies and HMRC. As an advocate regularly appears unled in major cases for both taxpayers and HMRC and he has acted as junior Counsel in a number of the most significant tax cases of recent years.

Tax Junior of the Year for 2020 - Legal 500.

Tax Junior of the Year for 2020 - Chambers and Partners.


Tax Junior of the Year (2020) – Chambers and Partners

Tax Junior of the Year (2020) – Legal 500

John was selected by the Tax Journal as one of the “Top 40 under 40”  individuals working in UK tax in 2015, and was described therein as:

  • “one of the most consistently impressive juniors out there at present”
  • “extremely client friendly and presents well on his feet – factors which, combined with his technical excellence really mark him out as a future star”

John is a member of the Attorney General’s Panel of Counsel (B Panel) and is a CEDR-accredited Mediator.

In his spare time, John plays cricket for the Bar of England and Wales and the (aptly named) Grannies CC. He has also been known to head off on an occasional cycling adventure, much to the chagrin of his Clerks…


MA Cantab (Double First Class Hons, Law), Trinity Hall, Cambridge (Bateman Scholar).

BVC (Outstanding), BPP Law School.

Middle Temple (Queen Mother’s Scholarship and Harmsworth Entrance Exhibition).


Legal 500 (2020) – “He is always over the detail, extremely thorough and reliably excellent” 

Chambers and Partners (2019)“Knowledgeable and very thorough”, “Highly intelligent, proactive and a pleasure to work with” and “Always impressive, well prepared and pragmatic. He thinks around the subject and contributes original and insightful comments.”

Legal 500 (2019)“Highly intelligent, very organised approach”

Chambers and Partners (2018) “He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of recent tax cases” and “Practical, very well prepared and an excellent VAT adviser.” 

Chambers and Partners (2017)“He leaves no stone unturned in getting to grips with every aspect of the dispute” and “He’s very capable, very clear and very well informed”

Legal 500 (2017)“Focused, intelligent and practical; all-in-all excellent”

Chambers and Partners (2016) – “extremely bright and very articulate” and “massively conscientious – he constantly thinks about things, is engaging and remarkably client-friendly.”

Legal 500 (2015)“Great experience in Supreme Court cases”.

Chambers and Partners (2015)“an outstanding young barrister. He is insightful, very articulate and very thorough”.

Legal 500 (2014) – “a user-friendly junior, who is very strong on responsiveness and commerciality”.

Legal 500 (2012) –incredibly thorough, meticulous and very able”.


“VAT for employment businesses: clarity at last?” – Tax Journal (23 March 2018)

“Airtours and input tax: a new hope?” – Tax Journal (15 April 2016)

“Tax Appeals: What is the ‘Point of Law'” – Tax Journal (25 September 2015)

“Who will guard the guardians?” – Tax Journal (21 June 2013)

“Lansdowne and Discovery Assessments” – Tax Journal (17 February 2012)

Legal Information

John Brinsmead-Stockham has professional liability insurance provided by the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Limited (90 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 4ST) on a world-wide basis and subject to the terms of cover: see

VAT number: 888559345

Court of Justice of the EU

Marcandi Ltd v HMRC [2018] EUECJ C-544/16 (CJEU) – VAT treatment of credits used for online auction.

Supreme Court 

Anson v HMRC [2015] UKSC 44 (SC) – treatment of a Delaware LLC for the purposes of double taxation relief – entity classification (appeal allowed by the Supreme Court)

Court of Appeal

Eynsham Cricket Club v HMRC [2021] EWCA Civ 225 – whether Community Amateur Sports Club can be a “charity” for tax purposes.

HMRC v Tooth [2019] EWCA Civ 826 (CA) – validity of discovery assessment – meaning of “deliberately” in Taxes Management Act 1970.

Hasbro European Trading BV v HMRC [2018] EWCA Civ 1221 (CA) – customs duty classification – relevance of Explanatory Notes to the Harmonised System.

Reed Employment Ltd v HMRC [2014] STC 1026 (CA) – recovery of overpaid VAT; EU law principles of equal treatment, fiscal neutrality and effectiveness.

HMRC v FCE Bank plc [2013] STC 14 (CA) – corporation tax group relief; non-discrimination under UK-US Double Tax Treaty.

HMRC v Lansdowne Partners Limited Partnership [2012] STC 544 (CA) – income tax treatment of rebate payments to hedge fund partners and validity of discovery assessments.

High Court 

HMRC v IGE USA Investments Ltd [2020] EWHC 2121 (Ch) – HMRC claim seeking to set aside tax settlement agreement.

Wallace v HMRC [2017]  EWHC 3115 (Ch)– jurisdiction of High Court to hear claim by taxpayer  to recover overpaid tax in restitution

Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery)

HMRC v Anna Cook [2021] UKUT 15 (TCC) – VAT – private tuition exemption – Ceroc dancing.

Eynsham Cricket Club v HMRC [2019] UKUT 0286 – whether Community Amateur Sports Club can qualify as a “charity” for tax purposes within FA 2010 Schedule 6.

Eynsham Cricket Club v HMRC [2019] UKUT 47 (UT) – effect of HMRC concession and whether HMRC entitled to raise new argument on appeal to UT.

Adetona v HMRC [2016] UKUT – tax credits – void decisions by HMRC

Moorthy v HMRC [2016] UKUT 13 (UT)– employment income – settlement of unfair dismissal and discrimination claims – injury to feelings

Jordan v HMRC [2015] UKUT 218 (UT) – information notices – jurisdiction of UT to hear appeal against decision of FTT.

Bupa Insurance Ltd v HMRC [2014] UKUT 262 (UT) – consortium relief; “beneficial entitlement to a dividend”

First-tier Tribunal (Tax)

Premier Family Martial Arts v HMRC [2020] UKFTT 1 (TC) – VAT – private tuition exemption

Charnley v HMRC [2019] UKFTT 650 (TC) – inheritance tax – agricultural property relief – meaning of “agriculture” – business property relief – whether business wholly or mainly consisted of holding investments

Briggs v HMRC [2019] UKFTT 338 – capital gains tax and earn-out rights; effect of deed of variation

London Luton Hotel BPRA Property Fund LLP v HMRC [2019] UKFTT 212 (FTT) – business premises renovation allowance claim by investment fund.

Williams v HMRC [2018] UKFTT 136 – inheritance tax – whether rental obligations under lease taken into account in valuing business for purposes of business property relief.

Dieno George v HMRC [2018] UKFTT 509 (FTT) – availability of entrepreneurs’ relief in the context of a specifically enforceable contract for the grant of voting rights.

Eynsham Cricket Club v HMRC [2017] UKFTT 611 (TC) – whether local cricket club entitled to zero-rating of supplies received in the course of rebuilding its pavilion – whether Community Amateur Sports Club can qualify as a “charity” for tax purposes.

Marathon Oil UK LLC v HMRC [2017] UKFTT 822 (FTT) – capital allowances – “special allowance” for expenditure on decommissioning platforms in the North Sea.

Club 21 (UK) Ltd v HMRC [2014] UKFTT 1113 (FTT) – customs duty – valuation – buying commission

Hargrove v HMRC [2014] UKFTT 921 (FTT) – pensions lifetime allowance charge – late claim – “reasonable excuse”

Reed Employment Ltd v HMRC [2011] SFTD 720 (FTT) – VAT treatment of employment agencies and recovery of overpaid VAT.

Spowage and others v HMRC [2009] SFTD 393 (Special Commissioners) – income tax; availability of Seafarers’ Earnings Deduction.

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