A versatile commercial Chancery practitioner, with particular specialisms in financial services (including consumer credit) and tax. Mark works for central government and regulators, as well as private sector clients such as investors, banks and building societies. Mark is a focused and thorough advocate and adviser, and is accessible and easy to work with.
Experience and Expertise
Mark’s commercial Chancery practice covers drafting and advisory work as well as litigation in courts and tribunals. Whilst he has particular specialisms in financial services (including consumer credit) and tax, he has the versatility and experience to practise in a wide range of areas within the commercial Chancery arena. Mark is recommended in The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners.
His clients include numerous financial institutions. As a member of the Attorney General’s A Panel, he also does work for central government departments. One day he might be arguing a technical customs law point in the Tribunal on behalf of HM Revenue & Customs with industry wide implications for the way goods are cleared into the UK. Another, he might be advising a building society on regulatory issues arising from a multi-billion-pound mortgage portfolio.
Over the last few years Mark has been involved in an array of substantial cases. He recently represented the United Kingdom as sole Counsel in the Court of Justice of the European Union in a tax case, known as Kubota, concerned with tax and the operation of the customs union. He also acted for the Financial Conduct Authority in Chickombe, a leading case concerning the relevance of consumer detriment to decisions as to whether the authority should permit the enforcement of loan portfolios brokered by unauthorised credit brokers. Mark has also advised a major banking group on aspects of the so-called ring fencing of retail and investment banking.
Cases and Work of Note
- Mason v Godiva Mortgages Ltd  EWHC 3227 (QB) (High Court case relating to compliance with responsible lending rules. The first case in which the High Court has considered those rules in the context of a claim for damages under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. Sole Counsel.)
- Chickombe v Financial Conduct Authority and Barclays Partner Finance  UKUT 0258 (TCC) (Validation order in relation to a £47 million consumer credit loan portfolio brokered by an unauthorised credit broker. Leading case on the relevance of consumer detriment to such orders. Sole Counsel.)
- Renesola UK Ltd v Revenue & Customs  UKFTT 0647 (TC) (Validity of EU regulation determining origin of imported solar panels for anti-dumping duty purposes. The EU equivalent of similar litigation conducted in the US regarding dumping of Chinese solar panels on world markets. Whether reference to CJEU needed. Sole Counsel.)
- Acting in relation to litigation concerning the OECD's transfer pricing regime for the taxation of multi-national enterprises and the UK's diverted profits tax regime.
- Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills v Marley  EWHC 236 (Ch) (High Court case concerning the impact of professional advice on the assessment of the fitness of a director in disqualification proceedings relating to an insolvent company. Sole Counsel.)
- Performers College Ltd v Revenue & Customs  STI 834 (Challenge to the consistency of the UK's VAT exemption regarding educational services with EU law. Sole Counsel.)
- Case C-545/16 Kubota, Court of Justice of the European Union, Judgment of 22 February 2018 (Reference to the CJEU concerning the taxation of utility vehicles across the customs union. Sole Counsel.)
- Nationwide Debt Consultants v Financial Conduct Authority  UKUT 0142 TCC (Significance of record keeping allegations relating to 'debt solutions' for consumers facing insolvency in an application to suspend an interim permission pending determination of a reference in a financial services case. Sole Counsel.)
- Acting for a global bank in a test case concerning interest rate variations on a mortgage pool in 2017. (Sole Counsel.)
- Maoudis v Financial Conduct Authority (2017) BPIR 1555 (Application to suspend the ceasing of an interim permission of a debt management firm pending determination of the firm's reference. Sole Counsel.)
- Advising in relation to an amendment to the UK’s financial services regulatory perimeter by HM Treasury in 2017.
- Koksal v Financial Conduct Authority (2016) CTLC 201 and (2017) BPIR 1517 (Tribunal reference challenging a decision refusing to authorise a credit broker. The first consideration by the Tribunal in an authorisation case of its revised jurisdiction under the Financial Services Act 2013. Sole Counsel.)
- PDHL Ltd v Financial Conduct Authority (2017) BPIR 1623 (Application to suspend the ceasing of an interim permission of a consumer credit firm pending a book sale in the context of likely insolvency proceedings. Led by Javan Herberg QC.)
- Advising in relation to an FCA consultation process in 2017.
- Revenue & Customs v Smart  BPIR 1329 (Operation of the EU mutual assistance directive in the context of a bankruptcy petition. Clarifies whether the court can review the foreign claim on public policy grounds. Sole Counsel.)
- Savant Distribution v Revenue & Customs  UKFTT 533 (TC) (Customs classification of food supplements. Sole Counsel.)
- Alpine Electronics v Revenue & Customs  UKFTT 437 (TC) (Customs classification of electronic navigational products. Sole Counsel.)
- Advising a clearing bank on the operation of the payment services directive in relation to card transactions.
- Financial Conduct Authority v HFO  UKUT 0118 (AAC) (Proceedings concerning the cancellation of the regulatory authorisations of a group of debt collection firms. Led by Patrick Goodall QC.)
- Advising on due diligence and regulatory authorisation issues in relation to a multi-billion pound loan pool sale in 2015.
- Advising a major banking group on aspects of the legislation ring fencing retail and investment banking in 2014.
- Atlas Property v Revenue & Customs  STI 2664 (Exempt VAT status of supplies of temporary accommodation. Sole Counsel.)
- Insectlore v Revenue & Customs  UKFTT 368 (TC) (Customs status of butterfly storage products. Sole Counsel.)
- Liquid Investments v Revenue & Customs  UKFTT 297 (TC) (Standing of a party to bring a tribunal appeal. Sole Counsel.)
- Nas & Co v HM Revenue and Customs  UKFTT 50 (TC) (Return of forfeited excise goods. Sole Counsel.)
- Revenue & Customs v Ben Nevis (Holdings) Ltd & Ors  STC 2157 and  WTLR 1 (First instance and Court of Appeal decisions concerning the interpretation of a mutual assistance treaty between the UK and South Africa and a judgment for in excess of £220 million in unpaid tax. Led by James Ayliffe QC.)
- Franck and Tobieson (UK) Ltd v HM Revenue and Customs  UKFTT 648 (TC) (Challenge to UK implementation of VAT directive as regards relief on import VAT. Sole Counsel.)
- Pius v Chief Land Registrar  EWHC 2217 (Ch) (Representing the Ministry of Justice in a claim against a number of senior members of the judiciary. The case concerned immunity from suit, abuse of process, and extended civil restraint orders. Sole Counsel.)
- Advising the Office of Fair Trading in a high-profile case in which the licence of one of the UK largest loan brokers was revoked. The case was widely covered in the national press.
- Snackwell v HM Revenue and Customs  UKFTT 661 (TC) (Flavouring of excise goods. Sole Counsel.)
- Advising in relation to the consumer documentation of a new High Street bank being set up in the UK.
- Revenue and Customs v Ali  STC 42 (Authority in which it was determined that HMRC has sufficient right to support a freezing order where income tax assessments have been issued, but the obligation to pay tax sought under the assessments has not yet crystallised. Led by David Chivers QC.)
- Furukawa Electric Europe Limited v HM Revenue and Customs  UKFTT 129 (TC) (Customs classification of car components imported into the UK by a Japanese manufacturer. Sole Counsel.)
- Skillbond v HM Revenue and Customs  UKFTT 488 (TC) (Certification of proofs of origin of imported goods. Sole Counsel.)
- Revenue and Customs v Harris  STI 3429 (Case concerning the status of an income tax closure notice and VAT assessments in the Bankruptcy Court. Sole Counsel.)
- Frontier Agriculture Limited v HM Revenue and Customs  UKFTT 834 (TC) (Customs classification of grain imported into the UK. Sole Counsel.)
- Advising and representing HM Revenue and Customs in relation to various pieces of insolvency, tax and commercial litigation arising from the decision of the High Court in Abbey Forwarding Ltd v Hone  EWHC 2029 (Ch).
- Advising in relation to litigation in the High Court of Singapore concerning the operation of dual currency swaps entered into by two high net worth individuals.
- Office of Fair Trading v Compensation Professionals Network Limited  UKFTT 240 (GRC) (Interlocutory decision in a consumer credit licensing appeal which the OFT successfully claimed public interest immunity in respect of internal documents licence holder was seeking to inspect. Sole Counsel.)
- Maplin Electronics Limited v HM Revenue and Customs  UKFTT 143 (TC) (Customs classification of memory sticks imported by Maplin. Sole Counsel.)
- GE Medical Systems v HM Revenue and Customs  UKFTT 437 (TC) (Customs classification of medical equipment imported by GE. Sole Counsel.)
- Advising the acquirer on a multi-billion pound transfer of business in the building societies sector in 2009.
- Advising the acquirer on a multi-billion pound merger in the building societies sector in 2008.
- Advising one of the clearing banks about its account terms and conditions in the run up to the so-called bank charges litigation. These terms and conditions were subsequently favourably considered by the High Court in OFT v Abbey National & Ors  EWHC 875 (Comm).
Mark is recommended by The Legal 500 and by Chambers UK. Editorial comment has included the following:
- "He has an excellent bedside manner. He puts very complex things into very simple terms, he is very efficient and he gets things done." (Chambers UK 2018)
- "An excellent financial services and regulatory barrister." (The Legal 500, 2017)
- 'His work is thoroughly researched and of a consistently high standard." (The Legal 500, 2017)
- “Shows meticulous attention to detail, together with clarity and precision in drafting, and has a patient, accessible and responsive manner.” (Chambers UK, 2017)
- “He gets straight to the heart of the issue and is very user-friendly.” (Chambers UK, 2017)
- "A responsive, diligent and impressive barrister with an expert knowledge of the law." (The Legal 500, 2016)
- he is solution oriented and offers a refreshingly pragmatic view in a topic which is highly technical.
- he is clear, patient and helpful in explaining difficult concepts, and he is prompt in responding to communications and queries.
- has enormous expertise on a theoretical and practical level.
- noted for being unassuming and very effective and bright.
- produces outstandingly user-friendly advice.
- very adaptable and extraordinarily able.
- very user-friendly in terms of complying with tight timescales.
- very knowledgeable and thorough.
- noted for ability to translate complex matters into clear and logical advice.
- provides excellent advice on the law.
- demonstrates sound commercial awareness of the issues facing our clients.
- easy to deal with, helpful and adds real value.
Mark is an editor of Wurtzburg & Mills on Building Society Law, which he co-edits jointly with colleagues, Malcolm Waters QC, Elizabeth Ovey and Henry Day.
He is also the author, along with Malcolm and Elizabeth, of Retail Mortgages: Law, Regulation and Procedure, published by Sweet & Maxwell.
MA Cantab (Double First) MSc Lond (Distinction, top of year)
Mark is a Scholar of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.
Mark is a member of the Chancery Bar Association, the Commercial Bar Association and the Financial Services Lawyers Association.
He is also a member of the Bar Council's Ethics Committee and a trustee of one of the main London homeless charities.
VAT Registration Number: 863595875
Bar Membership Number: 46901
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