Sarabjit Singh QC specialises in tax, with a particular emphasis on all forms of indirect tax and the interface between tax and public law. He is ranked as a leading silk in tax by both Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500, and has been described in those directories as “very persuasive” and “a very compelling advocate”, whose “drafting is fantastic” and whose “performances in conference impress”. Sarabjit also specialises in public law in its own right, and frequently appears in public law and tax cases in the highest courts, including regular appearances in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
Prior to becoming a silk, Sarabjit was appointed to each of the Attorney General’s A, B and C panels, and it was through his work on the panels that Sarabjit represented government departments and others in the most complex and high-profile cases in his areas of practice. His excellence in advocacy in the higher courts was recognised by his appointment as Queen’s Counsel in 2018, whilst still in his thirties.
Sarabjit has appeared in some of the most heavyweight cases in tax and public law in the last few decades, as outlined in the description of his practice in each of those areas below. He continues to act both for the government in high-profile cases, being instructed by HMRC in Brexit-related litigation, and against the government in similar cases, including in a recent £300m import tax case.
Unusually for someone who practices in tax and public law, Sarabjit is regularly instructed in and thoroughly enjoys acting in more witness-focused areas of the law such as clinical negligence, where his careful and high-quality pleadings and advocacy and tactful manner with clients invariably help secure excellent settlements and trial outcomes.
Outside of his practice, Sarabjit is heavily involved in work promoting access to the Bar and retention in the profession of those from underrepresented groups. Being from an underrepresented group himself, he feels strongly that barriers to access should be broken down, and to that end he travels all over the country to speak to students from state schools to encourage them to see the Bar as an option for them. He is also a member of the Bar Council’s Equality, Diversity and Social Mobility Committee, with a particular interest in ensuring the fair allocation of publicly funded work.
“He is approachable, easy to deal with and keen to work hard.”
“His written advices and his performances in conference impress.”
“When handling our case, he remained incredibly cool under heavy fire from Supreme Court judges.”
“He prepares well and is very persuasive.”
“He’s a very compelling advocate”
Sarabjit accepts instructions from HMRC, taxpayers and ratepayers and has acted in numerous landmark cases over the last few years. These include successfully representing HMRC in the British Film Institute litigation on the VAT cultural exemption that went to the European Court of Justice, appearing as sole counsel in the Amoena appeal which is the only ever customs case to have gone to the House of Lords or Supreme Court, acting as lead counsel in the seminal rating case of Newbigin v Monk in the Supreme Court and appearing again for the Revenue in the Supreme Court in the major VAT case of SAE Education Ltd.
In public law, Sarabjit appears in first-instance judicial reviews for both claimants and public bodies and also has vast appellate experience in the Court of Appeal, having appeared there dozens of times as sole counsel. He has acted in a number of complex cases, particularly where they interact with other areas he practices in. For example, he appeared as amicus in the Court of Appeal in the AR (Pakistan) case on immigration bail powers and has had numerous successful appearances in the Court of Appeal in human rights and immigration cases.
Sarabjit has a thriving advisory and court practice in clinical negligence, where he regularly acts for claimants, doctors and hospitals in cases involving complex medical evidence and profound and high-value injuries. His work spans all areas of clinical negligence, such as delayed diagnosis of cancer and birth injury cases and also cases raising more unusual medical issues, one example being a trial on whether the rare disease of necrotising fasciitis should have been detected earlier in an intravenous drug user.