Who? Oliver Walker, 35, of counsel at tax specialist Weil, Gotshal & Manges.
Why is he in the news? Acted for the Littlewoods group, owned by the Barclay brothers, in its long-running dispute with HMRC concerning interest on overpaid VAT worth £1.2bn.
The claim arose from overpayments of VAT made by companies in the Littlewoods group between 1973 and 2004. The overpaid VAT was repaid by HMRC. But Littlewoods claimed compound interest from HMRC, reflecting the loss of the money over that period.
Mr Justice Henderson held that the home shopping group’s claims, worth in excess of £1.2bn, ‘succeed in full’. The judgment is one of the largest money judgments handed down by the English courts.
He found that EU law requires HMRC to pay Littlewoods an ‘adequate indemnity’ for the loss suffered as a result of the overpaid VAT, which must compensate Littlewoods for the ‘loss of use value’ of the money incorrectly held by the government for over 31 years.
Thoughts on the case: ‘The decision confirms the right to compound interest on tax overpaid in breach of EU law where simple interest does not properly compensate the taxpayer. This is a ground-breaking development, and is likely to have positive implications for many taxpayers.’
Why become a lawyer? I’ve always been interested in law, did some work experience when I was 16 and thought this was something I’d be good at. After doing an English degree, law was the obvious course of action.
Career high: ‘There are a few. This decision, but I also recently led on the [£7.2bn] sale of Vodafone, one of the largest transactions this year.’
Career low: ‘Being kicked awake at 8am in the morning when training at another firm. I’d been sleeping on the floor under the desk.’