Kelly Stricklin-Coutinho

Year of call:

+44 (0)20 7832 1111

A highly practical, down-to-earth barrister… Her written advice is also very readable and client friendly”  Legal 500 2018

“She is very methodical and has a wide range of expertise” Legal 500 2018


Kelly’s practice centres around EU law, tax law and commercial litigation and arbitration, involving litigation at every level of English Court, specialist tribunals, arbitral tribunals and the CJEU.

Her clients include a broad range of multinationals, FTSE 100 companies, local authorities, government bodies, major insurers, high net worth individuals and SMEs, from sectors including Energy, Central and Local Government, Financial Services, Engineering, Aggregates, Insurance (including Life Assurance), Telecommunications, Computing and Medical Equipment.

Kelly is ranked in the Legal 500 guide for Tax and for EU law. Recent quotes include:

“Very impressive”

“She is fleet of foot in terms of taking into account evolving circumstances”

“Very straightforward and concise”

“Good with clients”

She is also ranked in International Tax Review’s Tax Controversy Leaders 2017 and 2015, and in Women in Tax 2017, 2016 and 2015.


Kelly regularly advises on a range of commercial disputes, particularly those with cross border disputes, treaty law and EU law aspects.

Her commercial experience includes:

  • Advising a multinational on the effect of Brexit on their corporate structure and holdings
  • Acting in relation to agency disputes
  • Acting in judicial review proceedings related to commercial transactions
  • Advising on protection of intellectual property rights and related dispute
  • Advising on the prospects of alleged negligence and fraud in relation to tax advice
  • Acting in an energy related ICSID arbitration
  • Advising the Financial Services Ombudsman as to the prospects of a judicial review claim made against them.
  • Advising on litigation and arbitration of a dispute involving a complex corporate structure in the Caribbean.
  • Acting in litigation for several groups of FTSE 100 companies where issues included the interpretation of international treaties and the interaction of those claims with EU law.
  • Acting on major group litigation proceedings in respect of a restitution claim on a novel point regarding the general principles of EU law, with approximately 300 claimants
  • Advising on strategy for dispute resolution of fraud in a major energy company in the UK.
  • Acting as a s.166 FSMA skilled person in relation to the review of potential mis-selling of interest rate hedging products by a major UK bank and advising on similar international claims.

Kelly appears regularly as an advocate in County Courts and the High Court on a range of commercial litigation, as sole counsel or junior counsel. Recent advocacy includes interlocutory applications and CCMCs in multi-track proceedings, insolvency proceedings (winding up and personal bankruptcy) and hearings in the tax tribunal. Kelly also volunteers with the Chancery Bar Association’s CLIPS Scheme, representing clients pro bono on interim applications.

Administrative & Public

Kelly has experience in a broad range of issues of public law. In particular, she has acted as sole and junior counsel in various judicial reviews, including in respect of financial services, tax and other commercial issues.

Judicial Review

All matters are acting as sole counsel unless otherwise stated:

  • Representing Wasps (with Fenella Morris QC) in judicial review proceedings relating to their occupation of the Ricoh Arena
  • Acting for the claimant on a proposed judicial review of refusal of an exemption from Community Infrastructure Levy, which settled in favour of the claimant.
  • Junior counsel acting for the claimant in judicial review proceedings against the refusal of an exemption from Community Infrastructure Levy
  • Acting on a number of tax judicial review cases, including review of a decision of the tax tribunal, the interaction of judicial review and commercial proceedings and review of recently introduced legislation and guidance. Tax issues include:
    • environmental taxes (landfill tax, climate change levy),
    • customs duty,
    • PAYE (IR35)
    • Corporate and income taxes
    • Third Party Information Notices and other procedural tax issues
  • Acting for local authorities in respect of several proposed judicial review proceedings on State aid grounds
  • Advising on a proposed judicial review of the independent person of an Interest Rate Hedging Product review
  • Advising on the prospects of judicial review of CMA procedure
  • Advising the Financial Ombudsman Service in respect of proposed judicial review proceedings against them
  • Advising a local authority on a proposed judicial review of its decision by a competitor
  • Advising on and settling judicial review proceedings in respect of a NHS procurement
  • Advising on and settling judicial review proceedings in respect of a legal aid dispute

Energy Law

Kelly has extensive experience in energy disputes and her reported cases include:

British Gas Trading v Gas and Electricity Markets Authority; Northern Powergrid v Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (Competition & Markets Authority, Final Determinations 29 September 2015).

In this case, Kelly was instructed as junior counsel in major appeals before the CMA by Northern Powergrid and British Gas to the RIIO-ED1 price control set by Ofgem. She acted for Ofgem in this first appeal brought under section 11 of the Electricity Act 1989.

Kelly’s work included:

  • Analysis of the technical models used by the regulator to set the price control
  • Working closely with Ofgem’s policy teams to prepare the case for trial
  • Drafting pleadings and witness statements and advising on strategy.

Kelly also advises on disputes between electricity distribution network operators and local authorities or the regulator.

Kelly is currently advising on an international arbitration in respect of electricity.


Tax Advisory & Disputes

Kelly trained at DG TAXUD at the European Commission, in the Direct Tax Policy Analysis Unit where she was involved in the proposal for and drafting of a proposed directive on double tax dispute resolution.

She then worked in the award winning team running the FII GLO (dividend tax), the CFC and Dividend GLO (CFCs and portfolio dividends), the Thin Cap GLO (thin cap and transfer pricing) and the Marks & Spencer (final losses) case. She also advised on high value tax enquiries.

Her experience includes:

Corporation Tax

  • High value tax enquiries on a number of issues, including CFCs, debt cap, group and loss relief
  • International Treaty disputes
  • Advising on the Patent Box and its compatibility with State Aid law
  • Advising on the compatibility of aspects of corporation taxes with State Aid law
  • Settlements
  • Restitution Claims


  • Representing client in their infringement proceedings before the European Commission
  • Acting in a proposed reference to the CJEU in respect of VAT avoidance and abuse
  • Acting as junior counsel in a proposed Group Litigation Order in respect of 300 claimants
  • Advising in respect of compound interest claims
  • Advising on VAT in respect of land and property
  • Claims for restitution

Other Taxes

  • Customs & Excise
  • Environmental Taxes (judicial review of landfill tax, aggregates levy)
  • Inheritance Tax

Kelly is a visiting lecturer at King’s College London where she convenes the EU Tax Law module on the LLM, part of the International Tax Law Pathway and the EU law Pathway. She is also a supervisor for a PhD student whose subject concerns EU Tax Law.

European Union Law

Kelly is ranked in the Legal 500 as a band 3 junior for EU law. Her recent areas of EU practice include:


  • Acting, with Prof. Andrea Biondi, in relation to the effects of Brexit on a multinational.

State aid

  • Acting as sole counsel, assisting a local authority to resolve a dispute concerning a £15 million potential State aid liability, as a result of an audit by DCLG
  • Acting as junior counsel, led by Fenella Morris QC, on a judicial review concerning purported State aid to a sporting venue.
  • Judicial review of a local authority’s refusal to grant a Community Infrastructure Levy exemption on the basis of its interpretation of State aid law
  • Providing opinions in respect of the compatibility with State aid law of grants of ESI funds to entities
  • Advising in respect of intervention in European Commission State aid investigations

Public procurement

  • Advising on the interaction of State aid and public procurement
  • Acting in judicial review of legal aid agency procurement
  • Acting in judicial review of NHS procurement of IT equipment
  • Acting in judicial review of award of transport contracts
  • Advising on compliance with the in-house exemption

Financial Services

  • Advising on the application of the Payment Services Directive, the E-Money Directive and the Capital Requirements Directive


  • Advising on the application of the REACH regulations to specific products


  • Representing client in their infringement proceedings before the European Commission
  • Acting in a proposed reference to the CJEU in respect of VAT avoidance and abuse
  • Acting as junior counsel in a proposed Group Litigation Order in respect of 300 claimants
  • Advising in respect of compound interest claims
  • Advising on VAT in respect of land and property,

Customs & Excise

  • Advising and acting in relation to tribunal proceedings and judicial review in respect of anti-dumping duty

Procedure before the European Institutions

  • Acting for the complainant in respect of complaints for infringement proceedings in various matters before the European Commission
  • Acting in applications for an order for reference to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling, both for applicants and respondents
  • Whilst at the European Commission, assisting in the European Commission’s review of complaints for infringement proceedings

Other experience

  • Visiting Lecturer at King’s College London, where she teaches the EU Tax Law module, part of the Centre for European Law’s LLM and the International Tax Law Pathway.
  • Teaches on the Centre for European Law’s EU Law Summer Course and is a supervisor for a Centre for European Law PhD student.
  • Trained at the European Commission
  • Member of the Bar Council’s EU Law Committee

Planning Law

  • Advice on Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)
  • Judicial reviews in respect of CIL Exemptions
  • Advice on CIL and State aid law
  • Advice on Section 106 Agreements


Kelly has acted in relation to exclusion appeals before Governors Disciplinary and Independent Review Panels, as well as appearing in the First-tier Tribunal (SENDIST) in relation to admissions.

Kelly is a Foundation Governor at St. Michael’s Catholic Grammar School for Girls, where she is also on the Curriculum & Standards committee. Her experience includes being appointed the chair of a Complaints Appeal Panel and appointing a head teacher.

She has taught at University of London colleges for 10 years in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses, where she has been responsible for the setting of the course and the assessments, as well as dissertation supervision. She has experience of undergraduate and postgraduate students with special educational needs and of academic appeals and plagiarism.

She also has experience of the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework.


Kelly has acted for:

  • Wasps in cases R (on the application of Sky Blue Sports & Ors) v Coventry City Council & Ors (in the Supreme Court, the High Court and the Court of Appeal), in respect of alleged state aid to Wasps
  • A dispute concerning a major sporting venue in respect of allegations of prohibited state aid and in respect of alleged breaches of procurement law.
  • High Net Worth Individuals, including sports people, in respect of a range of property and commercial matters.
  • Sports clubs in VAT litigation.

Kelly has also acted for clients in disputes in respect of a broad range of tax issues which arise in sports, in particular assisting individuals whose tax arrangements are under challenge and claims against advisers.

Call +44 (0)20 7832 1111 for more information

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