In the Media

Human rights lawyer helped UK Uncut fight tax decision

PUBLISHED June 21, 2012

Thursday 21 June 2012 by Jonathan Rayner

Who? Richard Stein, 57, human rights partner at City firm Leigh Day & Co.

Why is he in the news? Helped campaign group UK Uncut win permission from the High Court to judicially review HM Revenue & Customs' (HMRC) decision not to collect up to £20m tax allegedly owed by investment bank Goldman Sachs.

The court accepted that it was arguable that HMRC had acted wrongly and, in the public interest, gave leave for the campaign group to begin judicial review proceedings.

Thoughts on the case: 'The public has a right to know why a multibillion-pound investment bank appears to have been let off the tax it owes while vital public services are being cut. The government is making a political choice in letting ordinary people pay for the economic crisis with their jobs and pensions, rather than clamping down on billions of pounds worth of tax avoidance by big business.'

Route to the case: 'I was already working with UK Uncut on a range of issues around public sector cuts.'

Why become a lawyer? 'Because of this sort of case - helping campaigning groups and others use the law to achieve their aims.'

Career high: 'The last 15 years, working at Leigh Day.'

Career low: 'It's depressing to walk out of court without having won for the little guy - but at least the occasional low makes the highs higher.'