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The Value of Legal History

In September 2020 Professor Chantal Stebbings gave the plenary keynote lecture at the Tax Research Network Conference, hosted by the University of Cambridge. The title of her talk was ‘The Value of Legal History: A Tax Law Perspective’. The lecture will be published in the British Tax Review in March 2021. It explores how far legal history is important in tax law, a branch of law which, because of its slight historical infrastructure, is rarely viewed as possessing historical depth or richness. It argues that the value of legal history in tax law is far from negligible, explaining a myriad of points of detail, revealing the reasons for specific anomalies and identifying anachronisms. It is legal history which explains the defining features of modern tax law, permits an informed application of the law and ensures its reform is supported by evidence.

Date: 26 March 2021