Tax Law in Oxford
The webpages of the tax law community at the University of Oxford
Tax Law has been taught at Oxford University since the 1960s, when Professor Ash Wheatcroft first introduced the Personal Tax course (now called Trusts and Global Wealth Taxation) onto the BCL. This course has had many illustrious teachers as well as numerous students who have gone on to practice in the tax law field. The graduate tax law option in Corporate Tax Law and Policy was first offered in 2001 and an undergraduate tax course was introduced in 2004. September 2016 saw the launch of the part-time MSc in Taxation taught jointly with the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
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Fernando Sam Chec, now working in M&A and Banking & Finance at Baker & McKenzie (Lima) was an MLF student who took the Corporate Tax Law and Policy course in 2015-16. He strongly recommends the course for MLF students and comments that his 'tax background has proven tremendously valuable when structuring and designing the transactions and is definitely an edge. Understanding tax allows a lawyer not to focus just on the tree but the complexities of the whole forest'.
Conor Healy, now working at Matheson (Dublin) was a BCL student who took the Corporate Tax Law and Policy course in 2014-15. He achieved a distinction with no prior experience in tax law and comments that “the course is suitable not only for tax specialists but also for all students interested in business and corporate law at a practical or theoretical level. In the current economic climate, taxation of business is highly topical and knowledge of tax law has proved invaluable when advising on business law and commercial decisions.”
Mary Ashley is a tax barrister currently practising at Old Square Tax Chambers in Lincoln's Inn. "The corporate tax BCL course was incredibly interesting with lots of fantastic speakers throughout the year. It also provided me with knowledge that has helped me to understand the theory behind corporate taxation, a very important topic currently. What I learnt on that course and the network I built have been invaluable for my present career as a tax barrister.”
The Corporate and Business Taxation option was made possible by the creation of a Chair in Tax Law, generously funded by KPMG. Judith Freedman was appointed to this Chair in October 2001 and designed the new option, joining the existing Oxford tax teaching team including Roger Smith and Edwin Simpson. In 2013 law firm Pinsent Masons took over the funding of this Chair, now the Pinsent Masons Chair in Tax Law.
The Corporate Tax Law and Policy option both complements the Personal Tax paper (now called Trusts and Global Wealth Taxation) and stands on its own as an option on the BCL and MJur degrees. It starts from a basis in UK corporate and business taxation, but explores tax theory and policy issues common to all jurisdictions as well as some of the international tax issues that arise in a business tax context.
BCL and Mjur students may specialise in tax law, taking the two taught courses as well as writing a tax based dissertation if they wish, or they may take any one or two of the tax options in combination with any other topics. MLF students may also take tax options within their permitted electives, and many do so.
The tax options on the BCL/Mjur/MLF are designed to be of value to non-tax specialists and specialists alike. Students have successfully combined the tax courses with topics ranging from commercial law to jurisprudence and legal theory, whilst others have focused on tax and gone on to specialise in tax in their subsequent careers - guest lecturers have included many distinguished practitioners and overseas academics . BCL and MJur dissertation topics have ranged from European and international tax law to tax avoidance and the interaction with constitutional law.
The introduction of the undergraduate tax option was aided by the appointment of Glen Loutzenhiser sponsored by McGrigors, Solicitors. Glen is now Associate Professor in Tax Law. John Vella was appointed as an Associate Professor in Taxation in 2017.
In 2005, Judith Freedman was one of a team establishing the multi-disciplinary Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
Based at the Saïd Business School, the Centre was set up as a result of co-operation between the University of Oxford and the Hundred Group, representing the largest companies in the UK, with members of the Hundred Group contributing £5million over an initial five year period to support its work. The Centre continues to be supported by members of the Hundred Group as well as the usual academic funding bodies.
The Centre provides independent research on fundamental issues in business taxation as well as engaging in debate on specific policy issues. The Law Faculty has played a key role in establishing the Centre and continues to participate as a partner in this venture. Professor Freedman is Director of Legal Research at the Centre and is a member of the Advisory Board. She and Dr Loutzenhiser are both on the Centre Steering Committee.
Oxford Law Students taking tax courses may benefit from lectures and events at the Centre and research students may apply for the Centre's scholarships. For more information about the Centre see: Tax Centre
If you would be interested in learning more about Tax Law in Oxford or if you would like to send us some tax related news please contact:
Pinsent Masons Professor of Taxation Law
Email: Judith Freedman