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  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  1 Lloyd’s Rep 66, acting for a state in a challenge to an arbitration award and MTC v HRH Prince Hussam Bin Saud  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.  DIFC CFI 037,  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  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  DIFC CFI 022,  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  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  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  DIFC ARB 010.
- Confidential: (2020 – ongoing). Accountants’ negligence action following collapse of major DIFC investment firm.
- Emirates REIT v Nasdaq  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  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
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.”
- Registered Legal Practitioner, Dubai International Financial Centre
- Young International Arbitration Group
- 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