18 February 2009: The outstanding litigation expertise in the national Clayton Utz Taxation practice was recognised at the third annual International Tax Review's Asian Tax Awards held in Singapore recently.
Clayton Utz won the award for Australia Tax Controversy Firm of the Year ahead of three other short-listed finalists, from both accounting and legal firms.
The awards, given in 12 jurisdictions, were voted on by tax executives across Asia based on examples of firms' best work between September 2007 and 2008.
Among the highlights of Clayton Utz' work is its representation of a major foreign-owned multinational client on one of the first transfer pricing cases in Australia to go to a full hearing since the 1950s. The outcome of the case stands to have a significant impact on the business operations of all multinationals with a presence in Australia.
The head of Clayton Utz' national taxation practice, Allan Blaikie, said the award was deserving recognition for the team, which had specialised in taxation litigation for 25 years and had acted on many significant and high-profile cases.
"Over that time we have seen a significant increase in the amount of dispute work as the ATO has sought to challenge the interpretation and application of Australia's tax laws. Tax laws have become progressively more complex in response to the growing sophistication of the Australian economy and Australia's role in the international market place," Mr Blaikie said.
Mr Blaikie said that the breadth and depth of experience of Clayton Utz' Taxation practice enabled it to put teams of tax advisors and tax litigation specialists together to the benefit of its clients.
Tax litigation partner Dean Jordan said: "The ability to persuade a court of the clients' position requires a detailed understanding of tax law. It also requires an intuitive understanding of litigation, including the cogent presentation of one's evidence. Combining those skills is what sets us apart."
Mr Blaikie said clients were at an advantage in using law firms such as Clayton Utz that were able to provide detailed tax advice from the initiation and documentation of a transaction to its comprehensive support should some aspect become contentious, including advising the client on the appropriate application of the rules of professional privilege.