HMRC snags Defra's legal director as top lawyer

Written by Beckie Smith on 31 October 2018 in News

Alan Evans joins HMRC at a "critical time for the department", says permanent secretary Jon Thompson

Photo: PA

HM Revenue and Customs has appointed Alan Evans, formerly legal director at Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, as its most senior lawyer.  

Evans, who previously worked at HMRC before moving to Defra, will return to the tax agency as general counsel and solicitor in January. He will advise HMRC on all aspects of tax law and lead its litigation team, and will be a member of its executive committee.

Evans brings 30 years of legal experience to the role, including stints as a legal adviser to the Cabinet Officer and the European Commission. Before working in government he was a commercial lawyer in the City.


Evans succeeds Gill Aitken, who stepped down in June to become registrar at the University of Oxford. David Bunting, a former legal director at HMRC and part of the government-wide Border Delivery Group, has filled the role on an interim basis while HMRC has carried out an open recruitment process for a permanent replacement.

His appointment has been ratified by prime minister Theresa May following an “extensive” internal and external search, HMRC said.

HMRC permanent secretary Jon Thompson said he was “delighted” to welcome Evans “at a critical time for the department”.

HMRC is carrying out wide-ranging preparations for Brexit, including work to ensure it it is ready handle the extra customs demands that will be needed in the event of a no-deal departure from the EU.

It is also in the process of replacing its customs system with a revamped version known as the Customs Declaration Service, which is set to be rolled out by March next year. Post-Brexit, HMRC estimates the system will need to handle five times the number of customs declarations it deals with now.

“Alan brings with him a huge amount of experience from his time in government, and within the legal profession,” Thompson said.

He added: “I would like to extend my thanks to David Bunting, who has very ably led the Solicitors Office and Legal Services Group as interim general counsel and solicitor since Gill Aitken’s departure in June.”

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Beckie Smith
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Beckie Smith is a reporter for CSW who tweets Beckie__Smith.

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