Tom’s practice focuses on Commercial/Chancery Litigation, including Professional Liability disputes, Civil Fraud, Insolvency and Financial Services.  He has been ranked as a leading junior in Chambers & Partners since 2013.  Tom is described as “excellent”: a “skilled advocate who is “very robust” and who “really fights until the bitter end of a trial”.  He is said to be “extremely clever” with “a great deal of commercial acumen” and “a sharp legal mind”.   Tom prides himself on being a modern barrister who is “very personable”, “responsive and user-friendly” and “a pleasure to work with”.

Tom has recently acted in significant, high-value litigation as part of larger legal teams, both at first instance and in the Court of Appeal. He also appears in his own right in the High Court and County Court as well as before professional regulatory panels (including the Regulatory Decisions Committee of the FCA). He has extensive experience of trial advocacy, including the cross-examination of a variety of witnesses, and as a sole advocate his opponents frequently include more senior practitioners.  Tom was appointed as Junior Counsel to the Crown (Attorney General’s B Panel) in June 2016.

Further details of Tom’s practice areas can be found via the links on the left-hand side of this page.   Recent highlights include:

  • Successfully representing a substantial commercial debt management company on an application before the Regulatory Decisions Committee of the FCA for permission to carry out regulated activities.  Tom was involved at all stages of the proceedings, which resulted in only the second such successful application by a commercial firm to date.  He is particularly well-equipped to advise other firms currently going through the authorisations process.
  • Representing one of seven defendants to an ongoing claim for unlawful means conspiracy arising out of the alleged misappropriation of by-products from the steel manufacturing process at a plant in South Wales. 
  • Acting for the Trustee in Bankruptcy in proceedings involving the execution of bench warrants (at Heathrow airport, as the bankrupts sought to leave the jurisdiction) and subsequent conduct of three-day private examination.
  • Defending a multi-million pound claim against solicitors arising out of the alleged negligent conduct of a substantial Chancery Division claim. Led by Graeme McPherson QC
  • Acting on a dispute between family members arising out of the misappropriation of gate receipts of a museum and subsequent disputed settlement agreement.  Led by Neil Hext QC
  • Acting for a property developer on a claim arising out of substantial flood damage to a c.£45m development in Chelsea. 
  • Successfully defending a claim brought by an IT services company for services allegedly provided to a major IT company in Sweden, subsequent to a three-day trial.  Trial judge remarked on his “neat cross-examination” of the Claimant’s key witness.
  • Ariel v HMRC [2016] EWHC 1674 (Ch): acting for a trustee in bankruptcy on an application under s.303 relating to the service by HMRC of a third party information notice under Sch 36 Finance Act 2008.  
  • Acting for the FCA on a claim involving a purported forex trading company/scheme. Obtaining urgent freezing and other interim relief.
  • Breckons & Ors v Powerscourt Services Ltd & Ors [2015] EWHC 1330 (Ch).  Acting for the Defendants to an ongoing claim alleging fraud and deceit in relation to an investment in farmland in Argentina and on D1’s successful applications to strike out the Claim and discharge a freezing order on the ground of material non-disclosure.

 

Commercial Dispute Resolution 

Tom’s practice covers all aspects of commercial litigation. He has recently acted as junior counsel in several high-value pieces of litigation but also has considerable experience of trial advocacy on his own account.

Civil Fraud 

Tom has an established civil fraud practice. He has considerable experience of obtaining (and defending applications for) urgent freezing injunctions, search orders and related interim measures.

Professional Liability 

Tom is regularly instructed in claims for and against a wide range of professionals.  He has experience of actions involving auditors, accountants, investment advisors, pension administrators, insolvency practitioners, solicitors, IT professionals, a provider of medico-legal services and trademark / patent attorneys.

Insolvency

Tom is frequently instructed in high-value, contentious insolvency matters, often with elements of fraud. He has experience of winding-up petitions, administrations, CVAs, injunctions to restrain presentation and advertisement of winding-up petitions, applications to set aside statutory demands, validation orders, rescission orders and disputes involving transactions at an undervalue and preferences.

Areas of Expertise

Commercial Dispute Resolution
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Tom’s practice covers all aspects of commercial litigation. He has recently acted as junior counsel in several high-value pieces of litigation but also has considerable experience of trial advocacy on his own account.

Recent cases include:

  • Successfully defending a claim brought by an IT services company for services allegedly provided to a major IT company in Sweden, subsequent to a three-day trial.  Trial judge remarked on his “neat cross-examination” of the Claimant’s key witness.
  • Advising a commercial lender in relation to the enforceability of certain security documentation arising out of the takeover of a well-known professional football club.  (2017 – ongoing).
  • Acting on a claim by an importer/dealer of luxury motor vehicles in South Africa against a well-known leading manufacturer.
  • A dispute between members of a substantial property consortium with a portfolio worth in excess of £20m, involving difficult issues of expert valuation evidence.  Settled on confidential terms.  Led by David Halpern QC.  (2016).
  • Successfully defending a claim brought under a personal guarantee by a commercial money lender.  Three-day trial (Manchester District Registry) involving expert handwriting evidence, the proper construction of the document under question and penalty clauses.  (2016).
  • Acting for a well-known high street retail pawnbroker and loan provider in a dispute arising out of a series of franchise agreements. (2015).
  • Successfully defending a claim brought by a well-known bloodstock auctioneer relating to the sale of a racehorse (instructed as sole counsel). Three-day multi-track trial involving multiple claims and defendants (2015).
  • Sharma v Sharma [2014] BCC 73, [2013] EWCA Civ 1287: successfully representing the Respondent in the Court of Appeal, subsequent to a two-week High Court trial [2012] EWHC 2529 (Fam) relating to the ownership of a multi-million pound dental business and associated allegation of breach of fiduciary duty and diversion of corporate opportunities. (2012 – 2014).
  • A claim brought by a well-known classic car dealer in relation to the alleged sale of a Porsche 911 1973 RSR. Three-day multi-track trial; settled on confidential terms (2014).
  • A claim by a former partner against a major accounting firm for misrepresentation and negligent misstatement. Issues involved the proper construction of an LLP Deed and whether the claim was barred by the rule in Henderson v Henderson.  (2014).
  • Acting for the former agent of a well-known professional footballer in a $2.5 million claim relating to the exploitation of the player’s image rights and connected claims for inducing breach of contract and conspiracy.  (2014).
  • BSkyB v Digital Satellite Warranty Cover Ltd & Others [2012] EWHC 2642 (Ch): applications relating to issues of privilege, the enforceability of freezing injunctions obtained by liquidators of co-defendant companies and the lifting of the stay on continuing proceedings against a company in provisional liquidation, in a claim for breach of confidence, infringement of database rights and passing off.
  • Advising a major software developer in relation to a dispute arising out of a multi-billion pound government contract. Settled under confidential terms. (2011 – 2012).
Civil Fraud
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Tom has a rapidly growing civil fraud practice. He has considerable experience of obtaining (and defending applications for) urgent freezing injunctions, search orders and related interim measures.

His recent cases include:

  • Representing one of seven defendants to an ongoing claim arising out of the alleged large-scale misappropriation of by-products from the steel manufacturing process from a plant in South Wales.  (2017 – ongoing).
  • Acting for a high net worth Ukrainian citizen in a claim to recover substantial sums misappropriated in connection with a residential construction project in Knightsbridge.  Successful strike-out of Defence on Day 1 of High Court Trial.  (2016).
  • Breckons & Ors v Powerscourt Services Ltd & Ors [2015] EWHC 1330 (Ch).  Acting for the Defendants to a claim alleging fraud and deceit in relation to an investment in farmland in Argentina and on D1’s successful applications to strike out the Claim and discharge a freezing order on the ground of material non-disclosure. (2015 – ongoing).
  • A claim for c.£5m arising out of the misappropriation of cash and assets in a substantial adult gaming centre business. (2015 – ongoing).
  • Acting (as junior counsel) in a large scale international civil fraud claim for a major European bank in efforts to recover in excess of €3 billion from its former directors. (2015).
  • Representing two defendants in a multi-party claim for c.£20 million involving allegations of deceit and unlawful means conspiracy arising out of the alleged unauthorised lending of substantial sums to a boutique hotel operator. (2014 – 2015).
  • Defending a former director of a tax advisory firm against allegations of fraudulent misappropriation of sums in excess of £5 million. The case involved issues relating to the scope of a proprietary freezing injunction and the interplay between confiscation and restitution orders obtained in the Crown Court. (2014).
  • Defending a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation and for deceit arising out of the sale of an international logistics company. Settled on confidential terms at mediation. (2012 – 2013).
  • Represented a Kazakh-based defendant in a multi-million pound fraud claim brought by a Kazakh Bank against seventeen defendants. (2011).
Banking and Finance
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Tom frequently appears on behalf of major banks and financial institutions in relation to the enforcement of guarantees, loan agreements, hire purchase agreements, claims for possession and other applications. In 2011, Tom undertook a six-week placement in the Banking & Finance department at Matthew Arnold & Baldwin LLP.

A selection of his most significant cases:

  • Successfully representing a substantial commercial debt management company on an application before the Regulatory Decisions Committee of the FCA for permission to carry out regulated activities.  Tom was involved at all stages of the proceedings, which resulted in only the second such successful application to date.  (2016).
  • Acting for a commercial lender in relation to the enforceability of certain security documentation arising out of the takeover of a well-known professional football club.  (2017 – ongoing).
  • Advising the assignee of a portfolio of commercial debt in relation to remedies following the breach of a settlement agreement and the enforceability of various guarantees.
  • Acting for the FCA on a claim involving a purported forex trading company/scheme.  Obtaining urgent freezing and other interim relief.  (2016).
  • Acting for a debt management company in FCA authorisation proceedings.  (2016 – ongoing).
  • Financial Conduct Authority v Cavendish Moore Ltd & others: acting for the FCA in a ‘land banking’ dispute involving over 500 investors in ten subject schemes. (2013 – 2015).
  • Defending a conspiracy claim for in excess of £10m brought by the administrators of a now defunct bank, against a senior partner of a well-known international wealth management group. Settled on confidential terms subsequent to the making of a strike out application. (2013 – 2014).
  • Barclays Bank plc v Ball & Clarke (HHJ Platts, unreported, 16 October 2013): an appeal concerning advice given by a leading firm of accountants, and statements allegedly made by an employee of a leading high street retail bank, in relation to the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme. (2013 – 2014).
  • Advising a commercial bank on the enforceability of a series of cross-guarantees and other security valued in excess of £4 million. (2014).
  • Acting as sole counsel for a leading high street retail bank in a mortgage dispute involving allegations of fraud, undue influence and misrepresentation. (2012 – 2013).
  • Defending a claim by a senior Nigerian barrister against a leading high street retail bank concerning allegations of fraud and breach of mandate. Successful settlement after two days cross-examining the claimant. (2012).
Corporate Insolvency
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Tom is frequently instructed in high-value, contentious insolvency matters, often with elements of fraud. Tom has recently been instructed to appear before the Court of Appeal (as sole counsel) and in a two-week High Court trial defending a claim against administrators. Tom has experience of dealing with a wide range of corporate insolvency matters, including winding-up petitions, administrations, CVAs, injunctions to restrain presentation and advertisement of winding-up petitions, validation orders, and disputes involving transactions at an undervalue and preferences.  Tom is happy to consider acting on a Conditional Fee Agreement, where appropriate.

A selection of his most significant cases:

  • Defending a claim against the former administrator of a company under para 75 of Sch B1 arising out of a pre-pack sale of assets and book debts at an alleged substantial undervalue.  (2016 – ongoing).
  • Acting on an application to restrain presentation of a winding-up petition against a substantial telecoms company (2016).
  • Advising the operating company of a major and well-known professional sports league in relation to certain prescribed consequences on the happening of an insolvency event. (2015).
  • Advising a landlord on a prospective challenge to a CVA involving issues of guarantee stripping and the provision of incomplete financial information at the meeting of creditors. (2015).
  • Acting for the liquidator in a successful claim to recover a yacht transferred by the company for nil consideration. (2015).
  • Acting for the liquidator on a successful transaction at an undervalue and misfeasance claim: fully contested multi-track trial.  (2015).
  • Blue Monkey Gaming Ltd v Hudson, Bushby & Bower [2014] All ER (D) 222: successfully defending the joint administrators of a nationwide chain of amusement arcades against a multi-million pound claim in conversion brought by a supplier of gaming machines. Two-week High Court trial. (2011 – 2014).
  • Bristol Alliance (No 1) Ltd & others v Bennett & Cadwallader [2013] EWCA Civ 1626: an appeal to the Court of Appeal concerning the entitlement of various parties to funds in excess of £0.5 million held in escrow by a landlord. (2013).
  • Defending the director of a property services company against allegations of fraudulent and wrongful trading and breach of fiduciary duty arising out of the alleged wrongful declaration of dividends. (2015).
  • Re Sidley Sports Club (Registrar Derrett, unreported, 26 July 2013): obtained a winding-up order of a sports and social club pursuant to the Court’s equitable jurisdiction. (2013).
  • All aspects of directors disqualification, including both acting for the Secretary of State and for directors.
  • Advising the liquidator of a former development agency as to the status of certain funds and grants in excess of £3 million. Involved an alleged Quistclose trust and issues of tracing. (2011).
Personal Insolvency
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Tom acts for and advises private individuals and insolvency practitioners on all aspects of the bankruptcy process and regularly appears before the Bankruptcy Registrars and in the County Court. His experience includes applications to set aside statutory demands, claims for transaction avoidance, IVAs, rescission, annulment and associated applications.

A selection of his most significant cases:

  • Acting for the Trustee in Bankruptcy in proceedings involving the execution of bench warrants (at Heathrow airport, as the bankrupts sought to leave the jurisdiction) and subsequent conduct of three-day private examination resulting in the discovery of numerous assets and bank accounts in India. (2017 – ongoing).
  • Ariel v HMRC [2016] EWHC 1674 (Ch): acting for a trustee in bankruptcy on an application under s.303 relating to the service by HMRC of a third party information notice under Sch 36 Finance Act 2008.
  • A three-day disputed bankruptcy petition hearing, focusing on jurisdiction and COMI issues.
  • Chadwick v Burling [2015] 3 Costs LR 589: acting for the successful trustee in bankruptcy on an appeal against an order for possession and sale of two properties, subsequent to an unsuccessful application for relief from sanctions by the respondent.  Warren J held that the fact that the respondent was a litigant in person could be a relevant factor only at the margins of the third stage under Denton.
  • Acting for a trustee in bankruptcy on a successful claim to recover a property and substantial transfers into an Egyptian bank account.  (2015).
  • Defending a claim by a trustee in bankruptcy in relation to the alleged sale at an undervalue of a property subsequent to a deed of settlement and related issues involving a property and funds held in Andorra.  (2015 – ongoing).
  • Acting for the respondent to a statutory demand for c.€49m issued by an Irish Bank. (2015).
  • Obtaining an order for the disclosure and production of documents by a bankrupt, and a warrant for the bankrupt’s arrest following non-compliance with the order. (2015 – ongoing).
  • Acting for joint trustees appointed under an Insolvency Administration Order, in a claim to recover substantial sums paid as transactions at an undervalue. Claim successfully settled after mediation. (2014).
  • Acting for Heritable Bank plc (in administration) on an application to set aside a statutory demand for £1.3 million. Issues included a claim against the Bank for alleged interference with LPA receivers. (2012).
  • Sands & Treharne v Wright [2010] BPIR 1437: defending an application by a trustee under s.284 IA for a declaration that payments made by a bankrupt were void.
Professional Liability
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Tom is regularly instructed in claims for and against a wide range of professionals.  He has experience of actions involving auditors, accountants, investment advisors, insolvency practitioners, solicitors and IT professionals.
Recent cases include:

  • Defending a claim against solicitors arising out of the alleged negligent conduct of a substantial Chancery Division claim. Led by Graeme McPherson QC. (2016 – ongoing).
  • Successfully defending a claim brought by an IT services company for services allegedly provided to a major IT company in Sweden, subsequent to a three-day trial. (2016).
  • Defending a claim against solicitors relating to the alleged failure to conduct searches that would have revealed the existence of a sewerage pipe beneath a residential property development site.  Included difficult questions relating to contemporaneous file notes and the proper approach to valuation of the site in question. (2016).
  • Acting on a claim against solicitors arising out of the failure to secure a new commercial lease pursuant to the 1954 Landlord and Tenant Act.  (2016).
  • A claim against the administrator of a series of pensions schemes arising out of the alleged negligent miscalculation of benefits and overpayment to scheme members.  Led by Graham Chapman QC.  (2015 – ongoing).
  • Defending a claim against a provider of medico-legal services.  (2015 – ongoing).
  • A claim against a leading firm of IT consultants relating to a Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard audit of a company which provided online real-time booking facilities for the UK tourist industry.  (2015 – ongoing).
  • Defending a claim against solicitors in relation to the alleged negligent drafting of a share sale agreement and failure to comply with certain provisions of the Companies Act 1985.  (2015).
  • A claim against patent and trademark attorneys arising out of the alleged negligent provision of advice in connection with the manufacture of various satellite equipment.  (2015).
  • Defending a claim against a firm of solicitors arising out of the fraudulent execution of a series of mortgage deeds. (2014).
  • Acting for the liquidators of a company in relation to very substantial claims in negligence against former solicitors and auditors. (2013 – 2015).
Chancery
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Tom has considerable expertise in Chancery litigation and Chancery-related professional negligence claims.

Examples of his recent work in this area include:

  • Defending a claim against the former administrator of a company under para 75 of Sch B1 arising out of a pre-pack sale of assets and book debts at an alleged substantial undervalue.  (2016 – ongoing).
  • A claim against the administrator of a series of pensions schemes arising out of the alleged negligent miscalculation of benefits and overpayment to scheme members.  (2015 – ongoing).
  • Advising the operating company of a major and well-known professional sports league in relation to certain prescribed consequences on the happening of an insolvency event. (2015).
  • Sharma v Sharma [2014] BCC 73, [2013] EWCA Civ 1287: successfully representing the Respondent in the Court of Appeal, subsequent to a two-week High Court trial [2012] EWHC 2529 (Fam) relating to the ownership of a multi-million pound dental business and associated allegations of breach of fiduciary duty and diversion of corporate opportunities. (2012 – 2014).
  • Bristol Alliance (No 1) Ltd & others v Bennett & Cadwallader [2013] EWCA Civ 1626: an appeal to the Court of Appeal concerning the entitlement of various parties to funds in excess of £0.5 million held in escrow by a landlord. (2013).
  • Financial Conduct Authority v Cavendish Moore Ltd & others: acting for the FCA in a ‘land banking’ dispute involving over 500 investors in ten subject schemes. (2013 – ongoing).
Information Technology
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Tom has experience of IT-related disputes (both as sole and junior counsel) and is keen to develop his practice in this area. Recent cases include:

  • Successfully defending a claim brought by an IT services company for services allegedly provided to a major IT company in Sweden, subsequent to a three-day trial.  Trial judge remarked on his “neat cross-examination” of the Claimant’s key witness.
  • Defending a claim by solicitors against an IT services company for alleged mis-selling of volume licences and loss/corruption of data.
  • Defending a claim by an IT consultant in relation to the implementation of a well-known an e-commerce software solution. (2016 – ongoing).
  • A claim against a leading firm of IT consultants relating to a Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard audit of a company which provided online real-time booking facilities for the UK tourist industry.  (2015 – ongoing).
  • Advising a major software developer in relation to a dispute arising out of a multi-billion pound government contract. Settled under confidential terms. (2011 – 2012).
Sports Law
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4 New Square maintains a very strong sports practice and continues to be widely recognised and regarded for offering expertise in the field of sports law – both in the sub-specialities of sports disciplinary law and commercial sporting disputes. Tom is willing to consider instructions on a pro bono basis where appropriate.

Recent cases include:

  • Successfully defending a claim brought by a well-known bloodstock auctioneer relating to the sale of a racehorse (instructed as sole counsel). Three-day multi-track trial involving multiple claims and defendants (2015).
  • Advising the operating company of a major and well-known professional sports league in relation to certain prescribed consequences on the happening of an insolvency event. (2015).
  • Acting for the former agent of a well-known professional footballer in a $2.5 million claim relating to the exploitation of the player’s image rights and connected claims for inducing breach of contract and conspiracy (2014).

Qualifications & Memberships

Tom is a member of the Young COMBAR Committee and a member of the Chancery Bar Association.

Tom read Law and French at Bristol University and graduated with First Class Honours in 2006. He then undertook the BCL at St Hugh’s College, Oxford. During his undergraduate studies, he won the Stephenson Harwood prize for the best performance in Contract Law and also won the ESU National Mooting Competition and the University of Bristol Mooting Competition. He was awarded major scholarships by Lincoln’s Inn and graded ‘outstanding’ on the Bar Vocational Course.

VAT registration number: 985159179