Tom has a broad commercial and chancery practice across the range of chambers’ work. 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 or ad hoc.
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, 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:
- Acting for the State of Libya in Cengiz İnşaat Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S v. Libya (ICC Case No. 21537/ZF/AYZ), 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 and instructed by MS-Legal)
- Acting for a Dutch property investor in Larmag Holding B.V. v First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC & Others  DIFC CFI 054, a claim before the DIFC Courts arising out of the fraudulent acquisition of USD 70 million corporate bonds (with Michael Black QC and instructed by Clyde & Co LLP)
- Acting in a large and complex trusts dispute before the DIFC Courts, which concerned, inter alia, the arbitrability of trust disputes and capacity to litigate (with David Brownbill QC and Tom Montagu-Smith QC and instructed by Clyde & Co LLP)
- Acting as sole counsel in four 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
- Advising on a proposed USD 600 million claim against an African state (with Tom Montagu-Smith QC and instructed by Omnia Strategy LLP)
- Acting for Air Canada in Varano v Air Canada (QB-2020-001410), 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)
- Advising 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)
- Acting for a Kuwaiti company in Arabian Construction Company WLL v Credit Suisse Bank  DIFC CA 008 (29 March 2020), 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 and instructed by Global Advocacy and Legal Counsel)
- Acting in Tabari v Tabarak Investment LLC  DIFC CFI 016, a case concerning the costs consequences of a late application to the Joint Judicial Committee (with Tom Montagu-Smith QC and instructed by Addleshaw Goddard (Middle East) LLP)
- Acting for a major trusts and corporate services provider in Liga Lemberga v Serillo (PTC) Limited & Others (2019/ORD/40), a claim by a beneficiary in the Gibraltar Court of Appeal which concerns the proper scope of the court’s supervisory jurisdiction over trust administration (with David Brownbill QC and instructed by Signature Litigation LLP)
- Acting 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)
- Acting in a DIFC-LCIA arbitration in the telecommunications sector (with Tom Montagu-Smith QC and Matthew Watson and instructed by Dentons)
- Acting in a Commercial Court claim arising out of the sale of an aircraft (instructed by King & Spalding LLP)
- Acting as sole counsel in an LCIA arbitration in the technology sector
- Acting in an LCIA arbitration between CIS parties (with Marcus Staff and instructed by Carter Perry Bailey LLP)
- Acting for a US financial institution in a USD 1 billion claim against a UK bank (with Stephen Cogley QC, Turlough Stone and Matthew Watson and instructed by Gateley Plc)
- Acting for a prominent international businessman in a potential claim between parties to a joint venture (with Edward Cumming QC and instructed by RPC)
- Acting for a South American state in ICSID award enforcement proceedings in England and Wales (with Stephen Cogley QC and instructed by Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP)
Areas of experience
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