Graham Aaronson QC

Graham Aaronson QC Partner

Graham Aaronson QC is a founder partner of Joseph Hage Aaronson LLP and leads the firm’s tax disputes team. Having first practised in commercial law, he specialised in tax law and moved to the UK’s leading tax chambers, Pump Court. While there he dealt with all aspects of UK tax law, with emphasis on tax litigation. As a QC, he has specialised in commercial taxation, with sub-specialties in transfer pricing, oil and gas taxation, life assurance office taxation, structured finance, EU tax law and State Aid. He has advised or represented most of the major corporations conducting business in the UK, appearing in many landmark cases such as BMBF v Mawson. He initiated the EU law challenges to the UK corporation tax regime in the ground-breaking Hoechst case, and since then has been the lead counsel in most of the EU law-based group litigation actions dealing with corporation tax.

Notable Activities

1987-90: Appointed principal tax policy advisor to the Director of State Revenues, Treasury, Israel.

1994-97: Appointed first chairman of the Tax Law Review Committee (set up by the IFS, and under the presidency of the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Howe). Initiated its study of the UK’s tax legislation, and co-wrote its report recommending a complete re-write of the direct tax statutes (which was accepted by the Government and enacted over the following years).

1995-98: Chairman of the Revenue Bar Association.

2001-05: Part-time Special Commissioner (equivalent today to a judge of the First Tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal).

2010-11: Appointed by the Coalition Government as Leader of the ‘GAAR’ (General Anti-Avoidance Rule) study. His report, recommending a General Anti Abuse Rule (‘GAAR’), was accepted by the Government and the GAAR, based on his draft legislation, was brought into law by the Finance Act 2013.

2012-13: Appointed by HMRC as chairman of the Interim Advisory Panel for the GAAR, responsible for and co-writing the legally binding Guidelines for the operation of the GAAR.

2016: Asked by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, to examine the allegations of tax avoidance made against him and his family, arising out of the “Panama Papers” revelations. The Prime Minister quoted from his analysis in his personal statement to the House of Commons on 11th April 2016.


Tax Practice

1968-1973 and 1979-2012: In practice as tax counsel in Chambers (appointed QC 1982)


City of London School (State Scholar)

Trinity Hall, Cambridge (Law Scholar) M.A.