|Judith Freedman is a new entry this year|
Judith Freedman is another Global Tax 50 entrant from the world of academia. She is the legal director at what fellow academic entrant, Rita de la Feria, describes as "probably the world's most influential centre on tax policy" – the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation (CBT).
A regular speaker and event organiser, Freedman is primarily an academic but works with law firm Pinsent Masons through her work at Oxford, where she helped to set up the CBT.
The CBT celebrated its 10th anniversary in summer 2015 and will break new ground in the year ahead, after it announced a new MSc master's course in taxation which will welcome its first students during 2016.
Freedman is also a research fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and a member of the Tax Law Review Committee and Tax Research Network steering group, as well as holding editorial or editorial board positions at numerous tax publications and journals.
Freedman was also involved in the setting up, in summer 2015, of a network for women working across the tax profession, bringing together 'women in tax' from advisory, in-house, academic and tax authority backgrounds. The group had its official launch event in November – at which Freedman spoke on the topic 'What do we mean by a fair tax system' – and organises monthly breakfasts, skills development workshops and more. The establishment of such an organisation is long overdue.
From a wider angle, her importance – and the importance of tax academics in general – to the market should not be understated. Academia is an opportunity to provide a broad, external perspective on important tax issues and give impartial, critical analysis to issues, legislation and trends which active practitioners can be too ingrained in, or too busy, to provide an objective view on.