Simon Charles

Simon Charles - Barrister at St John's Buildings


Phone: 0161 214 1500

Year of call: 2004

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Experienced in handling a range of matrimonial finance matters, particularly financial remedy applications involving corporate assets. He is also adept in cases involving Schedule 1 of the Children’s Act 1989.

Strengths: “Simon Charles is incredibly intelligent, really good on technical aspects: things like complex company issues in financial remedy cases, but also really good on cohabitation cases.” “Simon Charles is a very effective advocate.” “Simon is very strong on the law, with a great attention to detail.” Chambers UK Bar 2023 (Matrimonial Finance)

Simon Charles frequently appears in cases addressing difficult points of law in relation to taxation and duty. He tends to represent HMRC.

Strengths: “Simon Charles’ judgement is very good and he is measured in his approach.” Chambers UK Bar 2023 (Tax) 

“Recommended Expert.” Legal 500 2023 (Chancery, Probate and Tax)

“Simon undergoes meticulous preparation, has a commercially analytical brain and an ability to articulate calmly and precisely the issues. He is incisive and clear in advice and approach in unusual scenarios. He has excellent clarity of thought and judgment, and is calm under pressure and tenacious.” Legal 500 2023 (Divorce and Financial Remedy)

Simon’s practice is focused on financial issues arising out of family and private client matters. Simon has narrowed his practice from broad chancery/commercial work meaning that he has a wealth of experience in the company, commercial and fiscal issues which often lie at the heart of his cases.

Simon was appointed to the Attorney-General’s Panel in 2010 and in this capacity has acted for HMRC in a number of leading cases.

Simon’s practice encompasses the following:

  • Family finance – (matrimonial, cohabitation disputes and schedule 1 of the Children Act)
  • All aspects of contested probate
  • Claims under the Inheritance Act
  • Drafting/Advice concerning pre-nuptial agreements, Deeds of Variation and other similar documents
  • Tax tribunal appeals
  • Professional negligence (especially in relation to the above matters).


  • FLBA
  • Court of Protection Practitioners Association
  • Northern Circuit Chancery Bar Association
  • Northern Circuit Commercial Bar Association


  • Junior Counsel to the Crown – (2010 – date)

Directory Recommendations

Strengths: “Simon is a skilled advocate. He is bright and tenacious. His courtroom skills are impressive.” Chambers UK Bar 2022 (Tax) and Legal 500 2022 (Chancery, Probate and Tax)

Strengths: “Simon is meticulous, studied and extremely knowledgeable. He is extremely calm and has a brilliant forensic approach but is also very pragmatic.” “He’s great for cases where you need the eye for detail. He can get his head around really complex pay and asset structures very quickly and can distil information in a very user-friendly way.” Chambers UK Bar 2022 (Matrimonial Finance)

“Simon has a superb attention to detail, he is practical and is able to explain to the client the difficult technical issues in a way that she could understand. He is a confident advocate and he elicits numerous helpful concessions when cross examining the other side at the final hearing.” Legal 500 2022 (Divorce and Financial Remedy)

Strengths: “Very measured and very strong.” Chambers UK Bar 2021 

“Facts and argument well marshalled, advocacy confident and articulate.” Legal 500 2021 (Chancery, Probate and Tax)

“Immensely intelligent and gives practical advice.” Legal 500 2021 (Divorce and Financial Remedy)



  • Property and Private Client

    Private Client

    Simon has a broad private client practice and takes pride in being able to provide practical solutions to complex legal issues. Given the diverse range of issues which fall within private client work Simon considers that his experience of both commercial and tax litigation regularly add significant value to the quality and scope of the advice he provides.

    Simon is regularly instructed in cases which include the following:

    • Claims within which the validity of a Will is challenged
    • Disputes as to the meaning/construction of a Will or Trust (including applications pursuant to s.48 AJA 1985)
    • Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
    • Inheritance tax disputes
    • Claims within which the conduct of Personal Representatives and/or Trustees is challenged
    • Claims which seek the removal of Personal Representatives/Trustees
    • Claims for rectification
    • Probate Applications – e.g. Re Beddoe applications, s.27 Trustee Act 1925 and ‘Benjamin Orders’
    • Professional negligence claims arising from the above.


    A significant proportion of Simon’s practice involves disputes which concern real property. Simon has particular experience of the issues common to litigation arising as a consequence of ‘secured lending’. Simon has been instructed in cases involving the following issues:

    • Disputes as to the priority of legal charges
    • Subrogation and marshalling
    • The validity and enforcement of personal guarantees (typically given by way of additional security)
    • Claims of undue influence (RBS v Etridge)
    • Compulsory purchase and blight notices (including ‘HS2 claims’).


    Currently instructed in numerous claims issued pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 involving estates of in excess of £1million.

    Currently retained in a number of cases within which the validity of a Will is being challenged.

    Lim v Walia – Court of Appeal – [2015] 1 All ER 902 – (Arden, McFarlane, McCombe LLJ)

    A case concerning section 8 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and its application to a ‘life and critical illness policy’. This case was reported in The Telegraph. Read the judgment here.

    Sandher v Pearson – Court of Appeal – [2013] All ER (D) 335 (Arden, Gloster and Ryder LLJ)

    A case involving subrogation/unjust enrichment/priority of charges. Read the judgment here.

    Horridge v Downshire House Ltd – Court of Appeal – [2010] EWCA Civ 777

    A case involving nuisance caused by water ingress from a neighbouring property. Read the judgment here.

    NP Integrated Technology v Entwistle [2017] EWHC B21 (HHJ Stephen Davies QC)

    Litigation arising from the installation of an integrated technology (‘smart home’) system in a residential property. The case also involved the correct application of VAT. Read the judgment here.

    2017 – High Court of Justice (Manchester) (HHJ Pelling QC)

    3-day claim concerning ‘Etridge undue influence’.

    2017 – County Court (Manchester)

    6-day ‘TOLATA’ trial involving a portfolio of 14 properties.

    2016 – High Court of Justice (Manchester) (HHJ Bird)

    4-day trial concerning a Deed of Easement which gave access to a development of newly built residential houses.

    2016High Court of Justice (Manchester) (HHJ Hodge QC)

    3-day trial. Acted for ‘minority shareholder’ in unfair prejudice petition arising as a result of a dispute within a ‘SPV’ incorporated for the purpose of a bespoke property development.

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  • Family - Finance

    Simon is regularly instructed on cases involving all aspect of Matrimonial Finance but with a particular interest in cases involving: businesses, trusts, inheritance, insolvency and disputes concerning valuation/liquidity. Simon’s broad background means that he has extensive experience of representing clients in both the ‘commercial/chancery courts’ as well as the Tax Tribunal meaning he is particularly well placed to deal with family finance cases with a company, commercial or fiscal element.

    Simon has significant experience in:

    • Co-habitation disputes. Simon often deals with ‘TOLATA applications’ involving a portfolio of properties
    • Claims pursuant to Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989
    • Claims issued pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
    • Professional negligence claims arising from the mismanagement of the above (with a particular emphasis upon the misevaluation of pensions).


    Ezair v Ezair – Court of Appeal – [2013] 1 FLR 281 – (Thorpe, Rimer, Black LLJ)

    An appeal concerning issues of liquidity and a dispute as to how the risk incumbent in ‘business assets’ should be divided between the parties. The appeal also involved a challenge against the costs order made by the Judge at first instance. Ths case was reported in The Telegraph. Read the judgment here.

    Lim v Walia – Court of Appeal – [2015] 1 All ER 902 – (Arden, McFarlane, McCombe LLJ)

    A case concerning section 8 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and its application to a ‘life and critical illness policy’. This case was reported in The Telegraph. Read the judgment here.

    2017 – County Court (Manchester)

    6-day ‘TOLATA’ trial involving a portfolio of 14 properties.

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  • Tax

    Following his appointment to the Attorney General’s Panel of Counsel to the Crown Simon has developed a busy contentious tax practice which includes a number of ‘leading/test’ cases. Simon has appeared in cases ranging from the First Tier Tribunal up to the Court of Appeal.


    Court of Appeal

    Patersons of Greenoakhill v HMRC – [2017] 1 WLR 1210, [2017] STC 225. (Led by Melanie Hall QC)

    Landfill tax – a test case concerning the application of the tax to biodegradable material which, post deposit, created methane which was burnt to produce electricity.

    Upper Tribunal

    B&M Ltd v HMRC – [2016] STC 2456 – (Led by Kieron Beal QC)

    A ‘test case’ concerning excise duty chargeable under the Excise Goods (Holding, Movement and Duty Point) Regulations 2010. The case is ongoing.

    Davison & Robinson Ltd v HMRC (Led by Kieron Beal QC)

    An ongoing case concerning excise duty chargeable under the Excise Goods (Holding, Movement and Duty Point) Regulations 2010.

    Revenue & Customs Commissioners v Charles Shaw – [2016] UKUT 4 (TCC) – (Barling J)

    Seizure of goods – Sch 3 of CEMA 1979.

    R (on the application of Ace Drinks Ltd) v HMRC – [2016] UKUT 124 (TCC) – (Warren J)

    Judicial review – Licence to trade as an ‘approved revenue trader’.

    Revenue & Customs Commissioners v Sprint C.P.A. Ltd – [2013] UKUT 169 (TCC)

    Classification – Bicycle parts.

    First Tier-Tribunal

    CW Fletcher v HMRC – [2017] UKFTT 14 (TC)

    Inward processing relief.

    Knutsford Business Services v HMRC – [2016] STI 222

    A case involving a PAYE scheme.

    Sandvik Osprey v HMRC [2016] UKFTT 698

    Classification – Combined Nomenclature – Customs Duties.

    Fiesta Showland Transport v HMRC [2016] UKFTT 813 (TC)

    Restoration of seized vehicles.

    Thomas McPolin v HMRC [2015] UKFTT 243 (TC)

    Appeal concerning the definition of “holding” pursuant to Excise Goods (Holding, Movement and Duty Point) Regulations 2010.

    R S Garments (A Firm Comprising (1) Ragveer Singh (2) Balbir Kaur) v Revenue & Customs Commissioners – [2014] UKFTT 1120 (TC)

    ‘Wrongdoing penalties’.

    Nufarm Ltd v Revenue & Customs Commissioners [2014] UKFTT 54 (TC)

    Inward Processing Relief – Jurisdiction of the FTT.

    Henry Diaper & Co Ltd v Revenue & Customs Commissioners [2014] UKFTT 45 (TC)

    Penalties – Finance Act 2008, Schedule 41.

    Weddle v HMRC [2014]] UKFTT (TC)

    Excise Duty – tobacco imports.

    Matalan Retail Ltd v Revenue & Customs Commissioners [2013] UKFTT 728 (TC)

    Classification – Combined Nomenclature – Customs Duties.

    Phil Holden Fasteners Ltd v Revenue & Customs Commissioners [2013] UKFTT 474 (TC)

    Classification – Anti-Dumping Duty – Article 239 of Regulation 2913/92.

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  • ADR and Mediation

    Many of Simon’s cases settle as a result of ADR/Mediation. Where possible, Simon is committed to using ADR to avoid exposing his clients to both the costs and anxiety associated with litigation.

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  • Professional Negligence

    Simon is often instructed in professional negligence cases arising out of the mismanagement of issues which form the mainstay of his practice (i.e. private client work and family finance). Simon has successfully pursued a number of cases arising out of both the negligent valuation of pensions in matrimonial finance cases and conveyancing errors.

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  • Public Access

    Simon is accredited to receive instructions directly from members of the public through the Public Access Scheme.

    Click here to view our Public Access pages and details of the process for instructing public access accredited barristers.

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