Tom has a broad commercial and chancery practice across the range of chambers’ work. Tom is described in the legal directories as an “effective advocate with a really impressive level of detail and expertise” (Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2021) and as having an “exceptional knowledge of the law” (Legal 500 UK Bar 2021).
Prior to joining XXIV, Tom was an associate at a boutique law firm, Omnia Strategy LLP, where he specialised in arbitration (both investment treaty and commercial) and public international law.
Tom’s experience includes general commercial disputes (both litigation and arbitration), trusts and estates litigation, company and insolvency law, banking and financial services disputes, aviation, EU law and public international law. Tom has a particular interest in complex multi-jurisdictional disputes, whether for companies, private clients or states, which involve multiple forums and different systems of law.
Tom appears in both court proceedings (in the UK and offshore) and in arbitration. He is happy to be instructed on his own or as part of a larger team. Tom has recently appeared unled against QCs in four significant hearings in the English High Court and in the DIFC Courts. As well as acting as counsel, Tom accepts appointments as a tribunal secretary in commercial and investment treaty arbitrations under a variety of institutional rules.
Tom is registered to appear as an advocate before the DIFC Courts and has a busy practice before those courts. He has also recently acted or advised in relation to matters in Jersey, Guernsey, Bermuda, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, Hong Kong, the onshore UAE courts, and in ICC, LCIA, DIFC-LCIA and ICSID arbitrations.
Full details of Tom’s experience are set out in the practice area categories below. A selection of current and recent cases includes:
- The Serious Fraud Office & Anor v Litigation Capital Ltd & Ors  EWHC 1272 (Comm): Junior counsel for a bespoke litigation funder, Litigation Capital Limited, in a trial listed for 10 weeks before Foxton J, which involved allegations of fraud and dishonesty and complex competing proprietary claims. Part of long running and exceptionally complex proceedings brought by the Serious Fraud Office in relation to the property of Dr Gerald Smith arising out of a historic fraud (with Rupert Bowers QC, instructed by Keystone Law LLP)
- Cengiz İnşaat Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S v. Libya (ICC Case No. 21537/ZF/AYZ): Acted for the State of Libya in a USD 300 million investment treaty arbitration arising out of two large infrastructure projects which ceased after the Libya revolution and civil war (with Oliver Assersohn, instructed by MS-Legal)
- Larmag Holding B.V. v First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC & Others  DIFC CFI 054 (4 August 2019);  DIFC CA 010 (23 March 2020): Acting for a Dutch property investor in a claim before the DIFC Courts (judgment on the merits pending) arising out of the fraudulent acquisition of USD 70 million corporate bonds (with Michael Black QC, instructed by Clyde & Co LLP)
- Varano v Air Canada  EWHC 1336 (QB);  EWHC 1859 (QB): Acted as sole counsel for Air Canada in a test case in the High Court concerning the proper jurisdictional scope of an EU regulation (Regulation (EC) No 261/2004) in accordance with customary international law limits on the EU’s legislative competence (instructed by Norton Rose Fulbright LLP)
- Everest Alliance v Maslovskiy & Ors (Re Petropavlovsk) (BL-2020-000992): Junior counsel for an activist shareholder, Everest Alliance, in an application for injunctive relief in relation to the composition of the board of a FTSE-listed Russian gold mining company after a contested AGM for the company (case covered extensively in the financial and general press) (with Francis Tregear QC, Gregory Banner QC and Caley Wright, instructed by Enyo Law LLP)
- X v Y  DIFC CFI 016 (24 May 2018);  DIFC CFI 016 (16 October 2018);  DIFC CA 005 (9 December 2018);  DIFC CFI 016 (31 December 2018);  DIFC CA 005 (24 January 2019);  DIFC CFI 016 (4 March 2019);  DIFC CFI 016 (14 March 2019): Junior counsel in a large and complex trusts dispute before the DIFC Courts relating to the ownership of a major family-owned conglomerate with interests in the hospitality, real estate and retail sectors (with David Brownbill QC and Tom Montagu-Smith QC, instructed by Clyde & Co LLP)
- Acting as sole counsel in five pending DIFC-LCIA arbitrations in the energy sector (instructed by Addleshaw Goddard LLP)
- Acting for the owner of a corporate jet in a pending EUR 3.1 million claim for damage to an aircraft whilst under the custody of another party
- Arabian Construction Company WLL v Credit Suisse Bank  DIFC CA 008 (29 March 2020): Junior counsel for a Kuwaiti company in the first DIFC Court of Appeal case considering the circumstances in which foreign judgments can be enforced under the Riyadh Convention or the GCC Convention (with Michael Black QC and Matthew Watson, instructed by Global Advocacy and Legal Counsel)
- Tabari v Tabarak Investment LLC  DIFC CFI 016 (30 April 2020);  DIFC CFI 016 (24 August 2020): Acted for the Claimants in an important case concerning the costs consequences of a late application to the Joint Judicial Committee (with Tom Montagu-Smith QC, instructed by Addleshaw Goddard (Middle East) LLP)
- Liga Lemberga v Serillo (PTC) Limited & Others (2019/ORD/40): Acting for a major trusts and corporate services provider in a claim by a beneficiary in the Gibraltar Courts which concerns the proper scope of the court’s supervisory jurisdiction over trust administration (with David Brownbill QC, instructed by Signature Litigation LLP)
- Spyropoulos v easyJet (BL-2020-000736): Sole counsel for easyJet in a test case concerning the interaction between airline terms and conditions, the assignability of the right to compensation under the EU flight delay regulation, and a solicitor’s equitable lien (instructed by Norton Rose Fulbright LLP)
- Advised on a proposed USD 600 million claim against an African state (with Tom Montagu-Smith QC, instructed by Omnia Strategy LLP)
- Advised a Middle Eastern bank on recovery of significance unpaid credit facilities owed by a large, and potentially insolvent, debtor company (instructed by Trowers & Hamlins LLP)
- Acted for a trusts and corporate services provider in resisting urgent interim relief in the English courts by a beneficiary (with Edward Cumming QC and instructed by Withers LLP)
- Acted in relation to a Hong Kong law trust in a dispute concerning control over and ownership of a major public company (with Elspeth Talbot Rice QC, instructed by Mishcon de Reya LLP)
- Junior counsel in a US$4 million DIFC-LCIA arbitration in the telecommunications sector (with Tom Montagu-Smith QC and Matthew Watson, instructed by Dentons & Co)
- Sole counsel in a Commercial Court claim arising out of the sale of an aircraft (instructed by King & Spalding LLP)
- Sole counsel in an LCIA arbitration in the technology sector
- Acted in an LCIA arbitration between CIS parties (with Marcus Staff, instructed by Carter Perry Bailey LLP)
- Junior counsel for a US financial institution in a USD 1 billion claim against a UK bank (with Stephen Cogley QC, Turlough Stone and Matthew Watson, instructed by Gateley Plc)
- Advised a prominent international businessman in a potential claim between parties to a joint venture (with Edward Cumming QC, instructed by RPC)
- Acted for a South American state in ICSID award enforcement proceedings in England and Wales (with Stephen Cogley QC, instructed by Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP)
Areas of experience
Chambers and Partners (UK Bar 2021) recommends Tom as an “up and coming” junior in Aviation work.
Tom is noted as having “a busy year handling disputes in the aviation industry”. Clients have said that Tom is “[a]n effective advocate with a really impressive level of detail and expertise. He knows the law in depth and is able to relate it in a clear, effective manner.”
Legal 500 (UK Bar 2021) recommends Tom as a “rising star” in Aviation.
Tom is described as a “rising star in the field” and clients note that “[h]e has exceptional knowledge of the law, and is a very effective advocate.“
BA Classics – Jesus College, Cambridge
GDL (Distinction, top 5 overall) – City University, London
BPTC (Outstanding) – City University, London
Commercial Bar Association
Chancery Bar Association
LCIA Young International Arbitration Group
ICC Young Arbitrators Forum
Part II Registered Practitioner before the DIFC Courts
“Central banks or sovereign wealth funds as investment treaty arbitration claimants?”  10 JIBFL 592 (co-authored with Lucas Bastin).
Lectures and Seminars
Tom provides lectures and seminars on topics within his practice areas. He has recently given talks on: (1) full protection and security claims arising out of civil wars; (2) the law of state immunity in England and the DIFC; (3) the development of the common law in English and international commercial courts; (4) allegations of corruption in investment arbitration; (5) the effect of post-breach benefits on the quantum of damages in commercial litigation; (6) freezing orders and anti-suit injunctions before the DIFC Courts; and (7) the interaction between trust litigation and matrimonial finance disputes.
VAT Number: 257034316
Registered name: Thomas William Stewart Coats