Ira Lindsay

Dr Ira Lindsay

Senior Lecturer in Finance Law and Ethics
+44 (0)1483 683561
37 AB 05


Areas of specialism

Tax Law; Property Law; Philosophy of Law; Political Philosophy; Comparative Law

University roles and responsibilities

  • Co-Deputy Head of School

My qualifications

Member of the Bar, State of New York

My publications


Lindsay IK (2010) A Troubled Path to Private Property: Agricultural Land Law in Russia,Columbia Journal of European Law 16 (2) pp. 261-302 Transnational Juris Publications
When the Soviet Union collapsed, many observers hoped that decollectivization would improve the infamously inefficient Soviet agricultural sector and raise collective farm workers out of poverty. The initial results of market reform in Russian agriculture were a severe disappointment in both respects. Under Putin, Russia finally allowed agricultural land to be bought and sold. The effects of this latest reform neither met the expectations of its supporters nor realized the fears of its opponents. Russia's experience with land reform suggests that while private ownership of farmland may offer significant advantages, successful land reform requires much more than the creation of legal rights. This Article explores the role of property law in post-Soviet Russian agriculture and charts the development and effect of land markets in rural Russia, revealing broad implications for the effects of land privatization on agriculture, the barriers to creating well functioning land markets, and the significance of property law for economic development.
Lindsay IK (2016) Tax Fairness by Convention: A Defense of Horizontal Equity,Florida Tax Review 19 (2) pp. 79-119 University of Florida
Horizontal equity is the principle that people who earn equal income should owe equal tax. It has gotten a bad name. Although horizontal equity remains a textbook criterion of tax fairness, scholarly literature is largely hostile. Scholars ranging from the legal theorist Louis Kaplow to philosophers Thomas Nagel and Liam Murphy question its conceptual coherence and normative significance. The crux of the case against horizontal equity is that it seems irrational to worry about the relationship between pre-tax income and tax obligations rather than determining tax policy in light of what our best theory of distributive justice tells us is the best post-tax outcome. I argue that horizontal equity is best understood as a compromise principle for people who disagree about deeper principles of distributive justice. The debate over horizontal equity reflects two distinct ways of thinking about fairness. One approach starts with principles that specify a just distribution of income, resources or utility and uses these principles to derive appropriate tax laws. A second approach analyzes fairness norms as stable and mutually advantageous compromises between people who have conflicting interests and differing moral commitments. Proponents and opponents of redistributive taxation can agree that at any given level of redistribution they will each be better off if taxes are horizontally equitable. Horizontally equitable taxation can thus prevent rent-seeking and ideological conflict over tax policy from generating a wasteful patchwork of narrow taxes and tax subsidies. Observing horizontal equity may be unimportant when people agree on ideal principles of justice and the relevant empirical facts. But under more usual conditions of deep moral and empirical disagreement over tax policy, treating pre-tax income as a normative baseline can prevent conflict over distributive questions from leading to wasteful and inequitable tax policy.
Lindsay Ira (2018) The Ethics of Tax Policy,In: Lever A, Poama A (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Ethics and Public Policy Routledge
Tax policy must address three fundamental
questions: what is taxed, who is taxed, and how tax
burdens are allocated among taxpayers. This chapter
examines the ethical dimensions of these questions,
including the merits of income taxation, consumption
taxation and Pigouvian taxes, the tax treatment of families
and of corporations, the justification of progressive
taxation, and tax competition. It considers theories of tax
fairness grounded in taxpayers? ability to pay and in the
benefits taxpayers receive from government as well as the
perspectives of utilitarians, egalitarians, and public choice
Lindsay Ira K (2019) Benefits Theories of Tax Fairness,In: Harris Peter, de Cogan Dominic (eds.), Studies in the History of Tax Law 9 pp. 93-122 Hart Publishing
The benefits theory of tax fairness was the dominant approach to tax justice until the late nineteenth century. This paper examines the reasons for the rejection of the benefits principle in the nineteenth century and the evolution of benefits theory in the twentieth century in response to this criticism. It uses this historical inquiry as a launching point for re-evaluation of the prospects for benefits theory. Benefits taxation has a number of advantages. As an ethical claim, it appeals to intuitive principles of fair cooperation. As a rule of procedural justice, it tends to protect against oppressive tax schemes. Although benefits theory has the resources to respond to some of the most historically influential criticisms, it faces additional challenges. These include specifying the baseline against which benefits are to be measured and fair treatment of taxpayers who take a public-spirited view of government spending as opposed to those who are mainly concerned with their private advantages.
The land is a precious resource, vital for humanity?s survival, yet it is under threat from deforestation, climate change and biodiversity loss. Despite awareness and acknowledgment of the need to tackle these issues, little truly effective has been implemented to-date. This research proposes property theory synthesised with sustainability as the mechanism to affect the change needed to protect the land, as part of the environment. Two clear limbs form the framework of this research: the theory of property and sustainability.

Property theory provides an already acknowledged mechanism for change and private property has been selected to reflect humanity?s resistance to modify its behaviour (most notably our reluctance to restrict consumption); to facilitate a new approach using a familiar and recognisable paradigm; and to create a modified model (described as the Land Model) implemented through legislation

Sustainability then forms the basis of this new restriction, developed through a critical analysis of sustainability and sustainability indicators (the means of measuring sustainability), ultimately placing a restriction (described here as the Sustainability Restriction) on the rate of biodiversity loss, change in land use and tree cover loss. Strong sustainability, with its emphasis on the land as part of the environment, underpins the ethical approach taken in this research.

Finally, post-devolution legislation in England and Wales (together Britain, the geographical area selected for this research) is analysed to propose that Wales would best support the use of the new paradigm.

This research advocates pro-active change but, acknowledging that good intentions rarely reach fruition through radical change, a series of incentives are proposed to encourage reactive change. The proposal is for slow, but steady, ground-up change: a velvet property revolution.

Additional publications