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Kelly Stricklin-Coutinho

“Kelly provides very impressive commercial advice and is an exquisite advocate. While for now she is a fantastic junior to add structure to a team, she will no doubt be knocking on the door of silk soon enough." Chambers and Partners 2023

Kelly is a leading senior junior practising in commercial and civil law.  

She has particular expertise in competition law (including state aid and subsidies), EU law, tax law (corporation tax, income tax, VAT, environmental taxes and other direct and indirect taxes) and commercial disputes.

Her clients are include multinationals, FTSE 100 and 250 companies, central and local government, high net worth individuals, charities and SMEs.

Kelly is a CEDR Accredited Mediator and a member of CEDR's Faculty and CEDR’s Panel of mediators. She mediates in all of her areas of practice, including co-mediation with HMRC.

She is called to the Bar of the Republic of Ireland. She trained at the European Commission (DG Taxation and Customs), and was a Judicial Assistant to the Court of Appeal. 
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Areas of expertise

Tax

“An excellent junior for tax, EU and state aid cases.” Chambers and Partners 2020

Kelly has a wealth experience of tax litigation in all levels of English court, the Tax Tribunals, the CJEU, and in infraction proceedings before the European Commission, as well as regulatory proceedings before the Taxation Disciplinary Board. She acts for taxpayers, central and local government and regulators in relation to tax issues.

She has acted in corporation tax disputes both in her previous career as a solicitor (in relation to the compatibility of aspects of corporation tax law and EU law, relating to loss relief, dividend tax, CFC rules and thin capitalisation rules and settlements) and now as counsel.

Her recent experience includes a number of matters involving environmental taxes (particularly landfill tax), matters relating to the VAT treatment of construction projects, corporation tax relating to losses, pensions tax, income tax (including IR3) capital gains tax and the tax treatment of interest.

She also acts in judicial review in tax matters.

She also acts in cases before the Chartered Institute of Taxation’s Taxation Disciplinary Board She prosecutes cases in respect of dishonesty, AML breaches, failure to disclose a criminal conviction and professional behaviour. 

Cases of note: 

  • VolkerWessels and others v HMRC [2020] UKFTT 476 (TC), [2022] UKUT 00078 (TCC) - Instructed on behalf of the taxpayer companies, led by Nicola Shaw KC, in respect of claims for group and consortium relief of losses of a UK branch, to be surrendered to a UK subsidiary, where the UK branch is a permanent establishment of a Dutch company. 
  • NHS Trust v HMRC - Instructed by the NHS Trust in relation to the application of IR35.
  • Customs: Manufacturer v HMRC - Instructed by the taxpayer in relation to a dispute as to the applicable customs tariff in relation to their product, and in relation to potential penalties to be applied in dispute with HMRC.
  • R (Claimants) v GAAR Advisory Panel - Instructed on behalf of the Claimants, led by James Ramsden KC, in relation to prospective judicial review proceedings against the GAAR Advisory Panel
  • Environmental Taxes: Prospective Claimant v HMRC - Instructed by taxpayer in relation to a prospective claim relating to HMRC’s application of Landfill Tax.
  • Advice to Insurer - Instructed by the Insurer to advise in relation to and to assess the merits of a dispute which the insurer had insured.
  • British Medical Association - Pensions taxation - Instructed by Bindmans LLP on behalf of the BMA in relation to the interaction between the annual allowance, the tapered annual allowance and statutory public sector defined benefit schemes like the NHS Pension Scheme.  Instructed by Wace Morgan LLP on behalf of the BMA in relation to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme.

EU Law

"Experienced, knowledgeable and thorough junior with a niche in state aid." The Legal 500 2021

Kelly has experience in a range of EU Law areas, including financial services, chemical regulation (including REACH), regulation of payment services, the interaction of EU law and international law in relation to arbitration, customs law, and specific issues around Brexit relating to acquired rights.

Kelly’s experience also covers VAT where she has advised in relation to infringement proceedings before the European Commission, acted in a proposed reference to the CJEU in respect of VAT avoidance and abuse, land and property VAT issues and was junior counsel in Test Claimants v Royal Mail.   

She has experience in customs & excise where she has acted in relation to a number of matters involving tribunal and judicial review proceedings in respect of customs duties, anti-dumping duty and penalties.

Within the field of EU law and competition law Kelly has particular expertise in state aid and subsidy law, both as standalone issues, and in relation to their interaction with other areas such as tax law, procurement law and in the field of sports law and renewable energy. She acts for central and local government, and for beneficiaries of aid.

Cases of Note:  

  • R (Sky Blues and ors) v Coventry City Council [2018] EWCA Civ 2252 - Acting for the alleged aid beneficiary, Wasps, led by Fenella Morris KC, in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court on a judicial review concerning purported State aid to the Ricoh Arena
  • R (Tempus Energy) v BEIS and ors - Acting for a group of alleged aid beneficiaries, led by Fenella Morris KC, in the High Court in R (Tempus Energy) v BEIS and ors, concerning a state aid challenge brought to the UK's interim measures for its capacity market auction.
  • R (Claimant) v BEIS - Acting for BEIS in judicial review proceedings relating to a competition for renewable energy, in which allegations of prohibited State aid, procurement breaches and public law grounds were raised.
  • Judicial Review Proceedings in relation to Community Infrastructure Levy - Acting in several judicial review proceedings of local authorities’ refusal to grant a Community Infrastructure Levy exemption on the basis of its interpretation of State aid law.  Cases include the homes of high net worth individuals, a private members club and a university campus.
  • State aid relating to a sporting venue - Acting as sole counsel, assisting a local authority to resolve a dispute concerning a sporting venue which holds international tournaments and a potential £15 million State aid liability
  • Advising in relation to state aid and subsidies granted by local authorities and LEPs - Advising in respect of the compatibility with State aid and subsidy law of grants of funds to entities in respect of regeneration projects, broadband, regional infrastructure, aid for SMEs, agriculture, culture and heritage conservation, sporting and multifunctional infrastructures, R&D, local infrastructure and training aid
  • Advising in respect of intervention in European Commission State aid investigation.

Procurement

Kelly acts in procurement cases, and has particular expertise in the interaction of procurement with state aid and subsidy law. She acts for both local authorities and for bidders in procurement claims.  She has advised on procurement in a number of areas, including legal aid, NHS procurement, transport, adult education and regeneration projects, as well as issues such as compliance with the in-house exemption.

Cases of note:

  • Amey Highways Ltd v West Sussex County Council [2019] EWHC 1291 (TCC) - Acting, led by Parishil Patel KC, for the Claimant in respect of the principles applicable to an abandoned procurement.
  • A v B - Advising a local authority on the interaction of State aid and public procurement in the context of potential challenges in relation to a substantial regeneration project
  • Smith Learing and others v The Legal Aid Agency  -  Acting for the Claimants in proceedings against the Legal Aid Agency.

Commercial

Kelly regularly advises on a range of commercial disputes, from contract disputes to cross border disputes with treaty law and EU law aspects, including acting in international arbitrations. 

She has particular expertise in relation to commercial matters and disputes with a tax element, including tax issues in wider commercial projects, settlements, the tax treatment of damages, and the impact on commercial arrangements of changes in tax law.

Cases of note: 

  • ICSID Arbitration - Kelly acted in arbitral proceedings on behalf of the Claimants in ICSID arbitration proceedings relating to renewable energy, led by Christopher Staker. 
  • The Foskett Panel - Kelly is currently instructed as a legal advisor to the Foskett Panel, chaired by Sir David Foskett, which is re-assessing direct and consequential losses suffered by victims of the fraud at HBOS Reading, in line with the recommendations in the Cranston Review led by Sir Ross Cranston.
  • Utility Company v Energy Providers - Instructed on behalf of the potential claimant in relation to a contract dispute with energy providers relating to commercial premises.
  • Advice to Waste Provider - Instructed by Waste Provider to advise in relation to the impact of possible changes to tax law on contractual arrangements.

Judicial Review

Kelly has particular experience in commercial judicial review proceedings.  She acts for claimants, defendants and interested parties in commercial judicial review.
She has acted for financial ombudsmen (in the UK, and in the first judicial review of a decision by the Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman). 

She has also acted for and against local authorities, as well as for and against central government (including BEIS). She has acted in disputes involving renewable energy projects, financial services and pensions taxation.
She has particular experience of state aid and subsidy related judicial review.

Kelly has also acted in tax judicial review proceedings, and advised on the interaction of proceedings before the Tax Tribunal with judicial review proceedings.

Cases of note:   

  • R (Sky Blues and ors) v Coventry City Council [2018] EWCA Civ 2252 - Representing Wasps (with Fenella Morris KC) in judicial review proceedings relating to their occupation of the Ricoh Arena
  • R (Claimants) v GAAR Advisory Panel - Instructed by the Claimants and led by James Ramsden KC in judicial review proceedings relating to the UK's GAAR
  • Community Infrastructure Levy - Acting as sole counsel for the claimant on several proposed judicial reviews of refusal of an exemption from Community Infrastructure Levy, as sole counsel and led.
  • R (Claimant) v BEIS - Instructed by BEIS in relation to a dispute involving state aid, procurement and breach of eligibility criteria for the competition for funding relating to a project to develop new energy resources.

Mediators

Kelly is a CEDR Accredited mediator, a member of CEDR’s Panel of mediators and a member of CEDR’s Training Faculty. 

Kelly mediates in all of her areas of practice, including co-mediation with HMRC.

In addition to her training activities, she recently contributed to the Chancery Bar Association’s response to the Government’s consultation on mandatory mediation, and she is a judge for the National Mediation Awards 2022.
 

Competition

"Experienced, knowledgeable and thorough junior with a niche in state aid."  The Legal 500 2021

Within the field of EU law and competition law Kelly has particular expertise in state aid and subsidy law, as standalone issues, and in relation to their interaction with other areas such as tax law, procurement law, sports law and renewable energy. She has acted in matters before the UK courts and the Competition Tribunals. Kelly is ranked in Tier 2 for Competition in the Legal 500.

Cases of note:

  • Advising a leading sporting/dance body in relation to competition law breaches alleged against them, and the application of Case C-124/21 P International Skating Union v Commission
  • Advising a lighting company in relation to allegations of anti-competitive practices in relation to an investigation by the CMA
  • R (Tempus Energy) v BEIS and ors - Acting for a group of alleged aid beneficiaries, led by Fenella Morris KC, in the High Court in R (Tempus Energy) v BEIS and ors, concerning a state aid challenge brought to the UK's interim measures for its capacity market auction.
  • R (Claimant) v BEIS - Acting for BEIS in judicial review proceedings relating to a competition for renewable energy, in which allegations of prohibited State aid, procurement breaches and public law grounds were raised.
  • R (Sky Blues and ors) v Coventry City Council [2018] EWCA Civ 2252 - Acting for the alleged aid beneficiary, Wasps, led by Fenella Morris KC, in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court on a judicial review concerning purported State aid to the Ricoh Arena
  • State aid relating to a sporting venue - Acting as sole counsel, assisting a local authority in respect of an audit concerning a sporting venue which holds international tournaments and a potential £15 million State aid liability
  • Advising in relation to state aid and subsidies granted by local authorities and LEPs - Advising in respect of the compatibility with State aid and subsidy law of grants of funds to entities in respect of regeneration projects, broadband, regional infrastructure, aid for SMEs, agriculture, culture and heritage conservation, sporting and multifunctional infrastructures, R&D, local infrastructure and training aid
  • Acting (led by a team at Blackstone Chambers) for Ofgem in the first appeal to be brought under section 11 of the Electricity Act 1989, brought by British Gas against Ofgem’s RIIO-ED1 price control decision for the electricity distribution sector. 
  • Advising in respect of intervention in European Commission State aid investigation.

Recommendations

  • "Kelly is able to quickly navigate through the various aspects of the case and provide the desired analysis." Chambers and Partners 2023
  • "Kelly provides very impressive commercial advice and is an exquisite advocate. While for now she is a fantastic junior to add structure to a team, she will no doubt be knocking on the door of silk soon enough." The Legal 500 2023
  • "Very good and commercial advice and a fantastic junior to add structure to a team.  An exquisite advocate." The Legal 500 2023
  • "Experienced, knowledgeable and thorough junior with a niche in state aid." The Legal 500 2021
  • “Her advice is always very practical in what is a complex area.” Chambers and Partners 2021
  • “Very hard-working and knowledgeable.” Chambers and Partners 2021
  • “An excellent junior for tax, EU and state aid cases.” Chambers and Partners 2020