Hilary Waters

Business, Dispute Resolution

Title: Partner

Tel: 0191 226 4895

Email Hilary Waters

Hilary is the Head of the Dispute Resolution department at Sintons.

She has over 20 years’ experience as a commercial disputes lawyer specialising in tax disputes. Over the years she has helped clients with a variety of complex tax disputes as both advisor and advocate, as well as commercial litigation and regulatory matters.

Hilary advises on tax positions, contractual arrangements, processes and structures with regard to dispute prevention as well as providing advice, litigation strategy and advocacy in respect of disputes.

Prior to joining Sintons, Hilary had been responsible for managing and growing the disputes practice within a Big 4 accountancy firm. Hilary is CTA qualified and has extensive experience advising on a wide range of tax issues for both individual clients and groups of taxpayers, including the formation and management of litigation funding groups. She has experience litigating matters at all levels of the UK Courts and Tribunals, from the First-tier Tribunal to the Supreme Court, as well as referrals to the European Court of Justice.


  • Working with a wide variety of clients from FTSE 100 companies to SMEs in all sectors including retail, leisure, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, tech, property, universities and sports clubs, many based in the North East
  • A secondment with an international tech company working with both legal and tax teams advising on a multitude of legal, tax and commercial issues
  • Managing a team dealing with a huge disclosure exercise across multiple sites whilst seconded to a national energy company
  • Advising on State Aid matters including the recent Government financial assistance in respect of Covid-19
  • Providing legal advice and support as part of a team appointed to provide a “Skilled Person Review” relating to the alleged mis-selling by banks in the UK
  • Lead advisor to one of two lead litigants relating to claims for compound interest in group litigation worth approximately £1bn
  • One of two lead advisors dealing with group litigation on behalf of football clubs in respect of the tax treatment of agent’s fees
  • Advising interest groups on the consultation process and responses in respect of 2012 Budget changes in relation to Hot Food, Caravans and Sports Drinks
  • Assisting Government draftsmen with drafting new tax legislation
  • Advocate in cited cases such as Quintiles (Scotland) Ltd v C&E Commissioners VTD 18790 and Ultralase Medical Aesthetics Ltd v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2009]UKFTT187 (TC)
  • Lead solicitor in cited cases such as Edinburgh Leisure; South Lanarkshire Leisure; Renfrewshire Leisure VTD 18784; Revenue and Customs Commissioners v Board of Governors of the Robert Gordon University [2008] STC 1890 and GlaxoSmithKline Services Unlimited v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2012] STC 10


Hilary was ranked in Band 1 in Chambers & Partners Guide for Tax,  where it was said “She is a one-woman wonder who rolls her sleeves up and gets stuck in. She is really very impressive.”

Hilary was listed as a leading individual in the Legal 500 2024 Guide, where it was said “Hilary Waters is a gifted litigator with extensive experience of conducting High Court litigation.”

Hilary was listed as a next generation partner in the Legal 500 2022 & 2023 Guides, where it was said “the disputes and corporate teams at Sintons are, in my experience, staffed with well-qualified, exceptionally capable lawyers who deliver focused advice from a “real world” position which only comes from experience. They are focused on providing the best client advice.”

Outside of work, Hilary is trustee of a The Circle and a school governor. She loves spending quality time with her young children and husband, family and friends, especially outdoors. She loves reading and travel and tries to keep fit when she can.

Key Practice Areas

  • Tax Disputes
  • Commercial Disputes