Perry Brown
    Perry Brown
    Senior Practice Manager
    +44 (0)20 7419 6206
    Tommie Drury
    Tommie Drury
    Practice Manager
    +44 (0)20 7419 6203
    Contact the Practice Managers

    Tom has a heavy commercial disputes practice in both arbitration and litigation. His work includes banking, joint ventures, fraud, insurance and reinsurance and disputes arising out of construction projects.

    Tom has been involved in some of the highest value and most significant cases before the DIFC Courts. Significant instructions include Emirates NBD v KBBO (DIFC, 2020 – ongoing), a US$300m for a syndicate of 11 banks against 19 defendants arising out of debt restructuring arrangements, SKAT v Elysium (DIFC, 2019 – ongoing), a US$2bn claim for the Danish State to recover fraudulent tax rebates and Pearl Petroleum v Kurdistan (DIFC, 2018), a US$2bn arbitration enforcement claim involving issues of state immunity.

    Tom appeared in many of the claims establishing the DIFC Court’s jurisdiction to enforce foreign judgments and awards, including  DNB Bank v Gulf Eyadah (CA, 25 Feb 2016), which established the “conduit” jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts.

    Tom also regularly appears in the English Courts, where his cases include Watson v Watchfinder [2017] Bus LR 1309, a leading case on the application of the Braganza duty for the exercise of a contractual discretion, Kyrgyz Republic v Stans Energy [2018] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 66, acting for a state in a challenge to an arbitration award and MTC v HRH Prince Hussam Bin Saud [2019] EWHC 3109, a claim relating to a US$750m arbitration award.

    Tom drafted the Rules of the DIFC Courts, Dubai World Tribunal and the Courts of the Astana International Financial Centre Courts, where he sits as a judge. He is a member of the English Civil Procedure Rules Committee. He is co-editor of DIFC Courts Practice (2020), the leading work on DIFC law and procedure. He contributes 4 chapters to Foskett on Compromise on arbitration, international dispute resolution, insurance and construction.

    Other examples of Tom’s recent work include:

    • Emirates NBD Bank v Al Rihab Real Estate Co. [2020] DIFC CFI 037, [2020] DIFC CA 006 (2020 – ongoing). First case to consider the DIFC Court’s power to grant foreclosure on a mortgage.
    • Vegie Bar v Emirates NBD Properties [2020] DIFC CA 001 (2018 – ongoing), leading case on the application of DIFC property law. Important decision on certainty of contractual terms and non-party costs.
    • Confidential: (2021 – ongoing). Acting for a state investment arm in respect of a joint venture for the development of real estate.
    • IDBI Bank Ltd v Amira C Foods International [2020] DIFC CFI 022, [2020] DIFC CA 014 (2018 – 2021): two related claims arising out of finance arrangements for the supply of commodities. First claim in the DIFC to consider business reputation loss arising from failure to honour banking obligations.
    • Huobi v Tabarak [2020] DIFC TCD 001 (2020 – ongoing). Claim for failure to guard against theft of Bitcoins. First DIFC claim to consider the legal status of cryptocurrency.
    • Childescu v Gheorghiu and ors [2020] CFI 032 (2020 – ongoing). Acting for a defendant in claims alleging misuse of trust property. First DIFC claim to consider the rule against reflective loss post-Marex.
    • Confidential: (2020 – ongoing). Acting for syndicate of banks in claim to recover US$500m advanced in restructuring arrangements.
    • Confidential: (2017-2020). Acting for satellite service provider in dispute about services. First anti-suit injunction in the DIFC Courts: Hazim v Hayri [2016] DIFC ARB 010.
    • Confidential: (2020 – ongoing). Accountants’ negligence action following collapse of major DIFC investment firm.
    • Emirates REIT v Nasdaq [2020] DIFC CFI 054 (2020). Leading case on Norwich Pharmacal Orders in the DIFC. Claim arising out of share price manipulation.
    • DIFC Investments v Dubai Islamic Bank [2020] DIFC CFI 016 (2020). Obtained order enforcing performance bond in the face of Dubai Court injunction prohibiting payment.
    • Confidential: (2020 – ongoing). US$90m dispute relating to the failed purchase of a cinema chain.

    Areas of experience

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    • Arbitration

      Tom has a busy arbitration practice, acting both in arbitrations and in arbitration-related court proceedings. He has particular experience of disputes relating to joint ventures, hotel management and insurance.

      Tom has acted in some of the most significant and high value arbitration-related cases in the DIFC Courts. He also appears in the English courts.

      He is recommended for arbitration in Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners:

      • “very confident and articulate and has a nice manner with the tribunal and judiciary. He has a formidable knowledge of the law.”
      • “richly deserves his reputation as a leader in the field of UAE arbitration law and practice – he brings forensic knowledge, combined with unparalleled skills in advocacy before Tribunals”
      • “Tom has extensive experience in the UAE and understands UAE law better than most barristers.”

      Recent arbitration instructions include:

      • (2020 – ongoing). US$90m dispute relating to the failed purchase of a cinema chain. LCIA, London seat.
      • (2020 – ongoing). Dispute relating to the distribution of consumer electronics in India. LCIA, London seat.
      • (2020 – ongoing). Acting for a UAE bank in a US$44m dispute relating to calls on various payment guarantees.
      • (2020). Dispute relating to the assignment of trade debt under trade finance insurance arrangements. LMAA, London seat.
      • (2020 – ongoing). Dispute about the enforcement of arbitration award in the DIFC. Decision in Pearl Petroleum on service under the Riyadh Convention overturned at first instance. DIFC-LCIA, DIFC seat.
      • (2019 – 2020). Dispute about control over a 5 star hotel in Saudi Arabia. LCIA, London seat.
      • (2017-2020). Acting for satellite service provider in dispute about services. First anti-suit injunction in the DIFC Courts: Hazim v Hayri [2016] DIFC ARB 010. DIFC-LCIA, DIFC seat.
      • (2018 – 2020). High profile dispute relating to seizure of control of a 5 star hotel on the Palm, Dubai. Related DIFC Court proceedings. DIFC-LCIA, DIFC seat.
      • MTC v HRH Prince Hussam Bin Saud [2019] EWHC 3109, claim relating to a US$750m arbitration award. LCIA, London.
      • Kyrgyz Republic v Stans Energy [2018] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 66, acting for a state in a challenge to an arbitration award. ICSID, London.

      Past arbitration instructions include:

      • (2018). DIFC Courts. Claim against arbitration institution relating to the appointment of an arbitrator and conduct of the proceedings (Dubai seat).
      • Pearl Petroleum v Kurdistan [2017] DIFC ARB 003. US$2bn arbitration enforcement claim. Leading DIFC case on state immunity.
      • (2016) Brookfield Multiplex v DIFC Investments: construction, arbitration, anti-suit injunctions.
      • Honeywell International v Meydan LLC (formerly known as Meydan Group LLC [2014] EWHC (TCC) 1344. Enforcement of a DIAC arbitration award in the UK. The Defendant raised (and failed on) every Convention defence. Of most interest was the Court’s finding that an allegation of bribery, even if made out, would not give rise to a public policy defence.
      • X1 v Y1 (DIFC, 2014). First case for enforcement of foreign arbitration awards in the DIFC. The DIFC Courts found that they had jurisdiction to recognise and enforce foreign awards, whether or not the claimant was able to demonstrate the existence of assets in the DIFC. Paved the way for the conduit jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts.
      • (2011 – 2015) AED150m (c.$38m) DIAC arbitration arising under a contract for the sale of land (with Michael Black QC).
      • (2013 – 2014) DIAC arbitration about the construction of theme park attractions.
      • (2013 – 2015) LCIA arbitration arising out of a distribution agreement.
      • (2011 – 2013) AED 90m ICC arbitration concerning a claim under a guarantee.
      • (2011 – 2012) US$40m telecommunications arbitration under UNICTRAL Rules (sole counsel).
      • (2011 – 2012) US$30m LCIA arbitration concerning the operation of a jack-up oil rig. The dispute was managed from London but spanned several jurisdictions including England, Cyprus, Cameroon, Panama, the UAE, New York and Texas (with Martin Mann QC).
      • US$100m ICC arbitration concerning a joint venture agreement.
      • LCIA arbitration about the ownership of several cargo vessels in a shipping pool.
      • ICC arbitration about the termination of a commercial agency agreement.
    • Banking and Financial Services

      Tom has a varied banking and finance practice and has acted in some of the most high-profile and novel cases recently heard in the DIFC and other jurisdictions. He is regularly instructed by leading banks and banking syndicates in the middle east. He has particular experience of disputes arising out of restructuring arrangements. He has appeared in some of the leading cases on the enforcement of payment guarantees.

      Recent instructions include:

      • Emirates NBD v KBBO (DIFC, 2020 – ongoing). Acting for a syndicate of 11 banks against 19 Defendants in a USD300m claim arising out of restructuring agreements.
      • (Confidential) (2020 – ongoing). Acting for the Claimant bank in a USD1bn fraud claim arising out of lending procured by deceit and misappropriation of companies’ funds.
      • Emirates NBD Bank v Al Rihab Real Estate Co. [2020] DIFC CFI 037, [2020] DIFC CA 006 (2020 – ongoing). Acting for the Claimant bank in a US$50m claim seeking the first foreclosure in DIFC history.
      • IDBI Bank Ltd v Amira C Foods International [2020] DIFC CFI 022, [2020] DIFC CA 014 (2018 – 2021): Acting for the Claimant in the first DIFC case to consider damages for harm to business reputation from failing to honour a financial obligation.
      • Huobi v Tabarak [2020] DIFC TCD 001 (2020 – ongoing). Acting for the claimant in the first case in the DIFC Technology and Construction list and the first cryptocurrency case in the region.
      • Confidential: (2020 – ongoing). Acting for syndicate of banks in claim to recover US$500m advanced in restructuring arrangements.
      • DIFC Investments v Dubai Islamic Bank [2020] DIFC CFI 016 (2020). Obtained order enforcing performance bond in the face of Dubai Court injunction prohibiting payment.
      • (2020 – ongoing). Acting for a UAE bank in a US$44m dispute relating to calls on various payment guarantees. DIFC-LCIA arbitration, DIFC seat.
      • (2020). Dispute relating to the assignment of trade debt under trade finance insurance arrangements. LMAA arbitration, London seat.
    • Civil Fraud, Asset Tracing & Recovery

      Tom is regularly instructed in claims arising out of significant fraud, including auditors’ negligence claims for failing to detect fraudulent activity. He has considerable experience of applications for pre-action relief, including freezing injunctions, search orders, disclosure orders and provisional liquidation. In 2019, he sought and obtained one of the largest ever search orders, requiring significant development of the procedural law for dealing with large volumes of documents: Skat v Elysium Global [2018] DIFC CFI 048 (2018 – ongoing). Other recent instructions include Emirates NBD v KBBO (DIFC, 2020 – ongoing), a US$300m for a syndicate of banks arising out of debt restructuring arrangements, involving allegations of fraud and diversion of loan monies and a US$1bn claim for a UAE lender for fraud and misuse of loan monies.

      Recent instructions include:

      • Childescu v Gheorghiu and ors [2020] CFI 032 (2020 – ongoing). Acting for a defendant in US$40m claims of theft of trust property. First DIFC claim to consider the rule against reflective loss post-Marex.
      • Skat v Elysium Global [2018] DIFC CFI 048 (2018 – ongoing). US$2bn claim for recovery of fraudulent tax reclaims.
      • Emirates NBD v KBBO (DIFC, 2020 – ongoing). Acting for a syndicate of 11 banks against 19 Defendants in a USD300m claim arising out of restructuring agreements.
      • Huobi v Tabarak [2020] DIFC TCD 001 (2020 – ongoing). Claim for failure to guard against theft of Bitcoins. First DIFC claim to consider the legal status of cryptocurrency.
      • Confidential [2020 – ongoing]. Claim to recover US$1bn loans obtained by fraud and diverted.
      • Confidential: (2020 – ongoing). Accountants’ negligence action following collapse of major DIFC investment firm following fraud by directors.
      • Emirates REIT v Nasdaq [2020] DIFC CFI 054 (2020). Claim arising out of share manipulation on the DIFC Nasdaq. Leading case on Norwich Pharmacal Orders in the DIFC.
      • Tabari v Tabarak (DIFC, 2018 – 2020). Acting for former chairman and director of major contractor accused of fraud.
    • Commercial Litigation

      Tom has a broad commercial practice, with particular experience of disputes involving banking, joint ventures, hotel management and business acquisitions. Tom also has experience of insurance disputes, including policy construction, disclosure and breach of warranty issues arising out of a wide range of different covers.

      Tom is recommended by Chambers & Partners and Chambers Global for both London and the UAE:

      • “a lawyer with a very high success rate, he keeps himself up to date on case law and has a brilliant way with judges.”
      • “He is excellent and rightly has a very good reputation for his work in the Middle East and DIFC courts.”
      • “very personable, very friendly, measured and polite, and he probably has the best knowledge of any counsel about the DIFC court.”
      • “He’s a very rounded, polished advocate who is so good at dealing with complex questions.”
      • “a very prominent and outstanding advocate” in the DIFC Courts.
      • “Tom is very personable, very friendly, measured and polite, and he probably has the best knowledge of any counsel about the DIFC court.”
      • “He’s a very rounded, polished advocate who is so good at dealing with complex questions.”

      Recent instructions include:

      • Confidential: (2021 – ongoing). Acting for a state investment arm in respect of a joint venture for the development of real estate.
      • Confidential: (2020 – ongoing). US$90m dispute relating to the failed purchase of a cinema chain.
      • IDBI Bank Ltd v Amira C Foods International [2020] DIFC CFI 022, [2020] DIFC CA 014 (2018 – 2021): two related claims arising out of finance arrangements for the supply of commodities.
      • Huobi v Tabarak [2020] DIFC TCD 001 (2020 – ongoing). Claim for failure to guard against theft of Bitcoins. First DIFC claim to consider the legal status of cryptocurrency.
      • Childescu v Gheorghiu and ors [2020] CFI 032 (2020 – ongoing). Acting for a defendant in claims alleging misuse of trust property. First DIFC claim to consider the rule against reflective loss post-Marex.
      • Confidential: (2020 – ongoing). Acting for syndicate of banks in claim to recover US$500m advanced in restructuring arrangements.
      • Confidential: (2017-2020). Acting for satellite service provider in dispute about services. First anti-suit injunction in the DIFC Courts: Hazim v Hayri [2016] DIFC ARB 010.
      • Confidential: (2020 – ongoing). Accountants’ negligence action following collapse of major DIFC investment firm.
      • Emirates REIT v Nasdaq [2020] DIFC CFI 054 (2020). Leading case on Norwich Pharmacal Orders in the DIFC.
      • DIFC Investments v Dubai Islamic Bank [2020] DIFC CFI 016 (2020). Obtained order enforcing performance bond in the face of Dubai Court injunction prohibiting payment.
      • Vegie Bar v Emirates NBD Properties [2020] DIFC CA 001 (2018 – ongoing), leading case on the application of DIFC property law. Important decision on certainty of contractual terms and non-party costs.
      • (2020 – ongoing). Dispute relating to the distribution of consumer electronics in India. LCIA, London seat.
      • (2019 – 2020). Dispute about control over a 5 star hotel in Saudi Arabia. LCIA, London seat.
      • (2018 – 2020). High profile dispute relating to seizure of control of a 5 star hotel on the Palm, Dubai. Related DIFC Court proceedings. DIFC-LCIA, DIFC seat.
      • Taleem v National Bonds and Deyaar, a $100m dispute about a property transaction (with Vernon Flynn QC). Tom appeared successfully on jurisdiction both at first instance and on appeal. Tom subsequently appeared successfully at the trial on liability. Along the way, the case has generated a number of important procedural decisions on matters such as the use of fresh evidence on appeal, the DIFC Court’s approach to expert evidence of UAE law and documentary disclosure.
      • Nakheel v Souq (Dubai World Tribunal, 2011 – ongoing). Acting for Souq in this AED 1bn dispute about a property transaction. The case was heard in February 2014. At the conclusion of trial, the Tribunal found for Souq on part of its counterclaim, ordering Nakheel to release certificates necessary for the completion of 2 buildings on the Palm, Dubai. The Tribunal reserved judgment on the balance of the claims and counterclaims.
      • Limitless v Al Janahi (2011 – 2012). Tom acted for the Defendants in this AED30m restitution claim before the Dubai World Tribunal relating to gifts of land from the Ruler of Dubai. The claim was discontinued on the first day of trial.
      • Advising in relation to the failed purchase of an interest in power generation companies.
      • Advising on a US$65m claim arising out of a transactionfor the construction of a power plant.
      • Advising in relation to a guarantee claim arising out of the construction of a superyacht (2011).
      • POAH v MIO (2010) (BVI), shareholders’ dispute relating to a BVI telecommunications company (valued at US$100m).
      • Corinth Pipeworks v Barclays Bank plc (2010) (DIFC) (with Michael Black QC). Advising at the jurisdiction phase in relation to a US$26m claim in deceit and conspiracy before the DIFC Court.
    • Construction & Projects

      Tom is recommended in Chambers & Partners for construction. He has experience of arbitration, adjudication and the TCC. His practice has an emphasis on energy, oil and gas.

      Recent instructions include (all as sole counsel unless otherwise stated):

      – (2016) Brookfield Multiplex v DIFC Investments: construction, arbitration, anti-suit injunctions.

      – (2016 – ) (with Vernon Flynn QC, Tim Taylor QC and Rupert Reed QC) Claim for enforcement of AED 1.1bn construction arbitration award.

      – (2011 – 2015) Three linked AED 100m DIAC arbitrations arising out of a high profile construction project in Dubai. Tom acted successfully in the first arbitration and was successful in defending the second arbitration. The parties settled before the conclusion of the third arbitration.

      Honeywell International v Meydan LLC (formerly known as Meydan Group LLC [2014] EWHC (TCC) 1344. Enforcement of a DIAC arbitration award in the UK. The Defendant raised (and failed on) every Convention defence. Of most interest was the Court’s finding that an allegation of bribery, even if made out, would not give rise to a public policy defence.

      – (2013 – 2014) DIAC arbitration about the construction of theme park attractions.

      – (2011 – 2012) US$40m telecommunications arbitration under UNICTRAL Rules.

      Obsession v Hi-Lite (TCC) (2010) (with Philip Shepherd QC), £4m claim for business interruption losses arising out of a fire at commercial premises.

      – US$30m LCIA arbitration (2009) (with Martin Mann QC) relating to the operation of an oil rig.

      IPT2 Property v Total (2009) (TCC), £4m claim arising out of the Buncefield explosion.

    • Energy, Oil & Gas

      Tom has acted in a variety of energy related matters:

      – (2014) Advising in relation to the failed acquisition of power generation companies.

      – US$30m LCIA arbitration relating to the operation of an oil rig

      Corinth Pipeworks v Barclays Bank plc (2010) (DIFC) (with Michael Black QC), US$26m dispute in Dubai related to the supply of gas pipeline.

      – Advising liquidators in BVI in relation to a US$30m oil trade (2010)

      IPT2 Property v Total (2009) (TCC), £4m claim arising out of the Buncefield explosion

      Kolmar v Traxpo (2009) (Comm Ct), US$2.5m claim relating to a shipment of methanol.

      Kensington International v Montrow International (2008) US$100m BVI vulture fund dispute relating to the ownership of a corporate structure whose ultimate asset was an oilfield.

    • Professional Negligence

      Tom has acted in claims against solicitors, barristers, accountants, financial advisors, insurance brokers, surveyors and construction professionals. He also has experience of solicitors’ partnership disputes, particularly those involving allegations of fraud.

      Recent instructions include:

      Brampton Insurance v AHJ (Comm Ct) (2010 – 2011), claim against reinsurance brokers for failure to notify claims.

      – Barrister’s negligence claim relating to tax planning advice (2010).

      Lewis v Kyriacou (2009), solicitors’ negligence claim arising out of a conveyance.

      – Surveyor’s negligence claim arising out of the sale of a block of flats.

      – Claim against insurance brokers following a fire at commercial premises.

    • Real Estate Litigation

      Tom has acted in claims arising out of property transactions.

      Recent instructions include:

      • Taleem v National Bonds and Deyaar, a $100m dispute about a property transaction (with Vernon Flynn QC). Tom appeared successfully on jurisdiction both at first instance and on appeal. Tom subsequently appeared successfully at the trial on liability. Along the way, the case has generated a number of important procedural decisions on matters such as the use of fresh evidence on appeal, the DIFC Court’s approach to expert evidence of UAE law and documentary disclosure.
      • Nakheel v Souq(Dubai World Tribunal, 2011 – ongoing). Acting for Souq in this AED 1bn dispute about a property transaction. The case was heard in February 2014. At the conclusion of trial, the Tribunal found for Souq on part of its counterclaim, ordering Nakheel to release certificates necessary for the completion of 2 buildings on the Palm, Dubai. The Tribunal reserved judgment on the balance of the claims and counterclaims.
      • Limitless v Al Janahi(2011 – 2012). Tom acted for the Defendants in this AED30m restitution claim before the Dubai World Tribunal relating to gifts of land from the Ruler of Dubai. The claim was discontinued on the first day of trial.
      • Advising and acting in relation to various disputes relating to the sale of off-plan property in the DIFC.

    Recommendations

    Tom is ranked as a leading silk in Chambers & Partners 2021 for International Arbitration: Construction & Engineering. Sources describe him as “very confident and articulate and has a nice manner with the tribunal and judiciary. He has a formidable knowledge of the law.” He is also recognised for Commercial Dispute Resolution where he is described as “a lawyer with a very high success rate, he keeps himself up to date on case law and has a brilliant way with judges.” “He is excellent and rightly has a very good reputation for his work in the Middle East and DIFC courts.”

    The 2021 edition of The Legal 500 ranks Tom as a leading silk for Construction and International Arbitration: Counsel. Sources say that he “richly deserves his reputation as a leader in the field of UAE arbitration law and practice – he brings forensic knowledge, combined with unparalleled skills in advocacy before Tribunals” and that Tom has extensive experience in the UAE and understands UAE law better than most barristers.”

    Tom is recommended for Commercial Dispute Resolution in Chambers and Partners 2020.  “Tom is very personable, very friendly, measured and polite, and he probably has the best knowledge of any counsel about the DIFC court.” “He’s a very rounded, polished advocate who is so good at dealing with complex questions.”

    Chambers & Partners Global recommends Tom for commercial dispute resolution in the UAE and UK and is recognised as “a very prominent and outstanding advocate” in the DIFC Courts. Based in London, he was involved in the drafting of the regulatory framework of the DIFC Courts, and continues to be instructed by major international law firms to represent clients in matters as diverse as white-collar fraud and construction disputes. “Tom is very personable, very friendly, measured and polite, and he probably has the best knowledge of any counsel about the DIFC court.” “He’s a very rounded, polished advocate who is so good at dealing with complex questions.”

    Professional memberships

    • Registered Legal Practitioner, Dubai International Financial Centre
    • Young International Arbitration Group
    • ICC
    • COMBAR

    Academic history

    • 2001 BVC Prize, Lincoln’s Inn (2nd in year)
    • 2000 Hardewicke Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
    • 2000 PgDL, College of Law: Distinction (top 5 in year)
    • 1999 BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics
    • 1998 Exhibition scholarship to Lincoln College, Oxford

    Languages

    French