LL4CG      Half Unit
Tax Law and Policy

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Ian Roxan


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time) and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course has a limited number of places and we cannot guarantee all students will get a place.


This course is suitable for students from any disciplinary background within the social sciences. No previous study of taxation is required. Some prior familiarity with tax concepts is advantageous but not essential.

Course content

This course looks at the interaction of tax law and tax policy in modern societies. Taxation is fundamental in modern society in both developed and developing countries. Almost everyone is now a taxpayer, and tax has become an important element of political, social and economic policy. It also has an impact on the work of lawyers in many fields, and tax lawyers themselves have to consider the operation of tax law in many contexts, such as corporate and commercial law, family and trust law, labour and employment law, environmental law and intellectual property law. And, as taxpayers seek to minimise their tax burdens, whether legally or by less than legal means, tax law becomes more complex in response.

Using a series of topical examples drawn from different countries and globally, this course will explore what is involved in ‘doing’ tax law, how tax policy is made, and the different perspectives through which tax law and policy, and the interaction between them, can be understood, including law itself, economics, economic analysis of law, politics, sociology and anthropology.

Seminars discussing these principles and perspectives will be complemented by the monthly LSE Taxation Seminars during the Michaelmas Term, which will provide students with direct exposure to leading speakers from a wide range of backgrounds on current debates in taxation. The LSE Taxation Seminars series, established since the 1960s, brings together a wide variety of participants, including lawyers, economists, accountants and government officials. The Taxation Seminars provide an important forum for topical discussion on taxation.


This course will have two hours of teaching content each week in Lent Term, either in the form of a two hour seminar or an online lecture and one hour class. There will be a Reading Week in Week 6 of Lent Term.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to submit one 1,500-word formative essay.

Indicative reading

• Avi-Yonah, et al., Global Perspectives on Income Taxation Law (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2011)

• Mirrlees, et al., Tax by Design: the Mirrlees Review (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press: 2011)

• Mirrlees, et al. (eds), Dimensions of Tax Design: the Mirrlees Review (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2010)

• Lamb, et al. (eds), Taxation: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Research (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2004)

• Murphy and Nagel, The Myth of Ownership (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2002)

• Weisbach, ‘Formalism in the Tax Law’ (1999), 66 U. Chicago L. Rev. 680

• Leroy, ‘Tax Sociology: Sociopolitical Issues for a Dialogue with Economists’ (2008) 3 socio-logos

• James and Nobes, The Economics of Taxation (2018), (Birmingham: Fiscal Publications, recent ed.)

• O’Reilly, ‘Tax policies for inclusive growth in a changing world’, OECD Taxation Working Papers, No. 40, (Paris: OECD Publishing, 2018)

• Keen and Konrad, ‘The Theory of International Tax Competition and Coordination’ (2014), Working Paper of Max Planck Inst. for Tax Law and Public Fin. No. 2012-06


Detailed reading lists will be provided during the course via Moodle.


Essay (100%, 8000 words).

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2020/21: 26

Average class size 2020/21: 13

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills