The law of tax is often perceived by those involved in its practice and study as standing outside the regular legal system, and not sharing its values, standards and safeguards. This lecture examines the reasons why this is so and finds them in the history of tax law in its substance and its administration. It sees how the constitutional underpinning of tax law, and the effect this had on the nature of the law, forced its administration and development into the hands not of lawyers, but of bureaucrats. Examining its public character, its administration by lay tribunals, limits on the rights of appeal and law reporting, and above all the role of the revenue departments of the executive, the lecture explains how the special character of tax law evolved and the reasons for its persistence.
Chantal Stebbing, Professor of Law and Legal History at the University of Exeter, will deliver the 2018 Youard Lecture in Legal History on 6th June on 'The Isolation of Tax Law: An Historical Perspective'. The lecture will take place in the Cube at 5.30pm.