Professional practice

C&P 2024Leading Junior 2024

Thomas acts in complex regulatory and commercial disputes.

His practice is diverse and spans public international law, international commercial arbitration and competition law.

  • Thomas concentrates his public international law practice on international economic law (WTO law, trade law more generally and investment treaty law). He has acted for over 20 sovereign states and has extensive experience of handling disputes where important regulatory and financial interests are at stake.
  • Thomas’ international commercial arbitration cases usually involve complex technical or economic issues. He has a particular interest in disputes governed by Indian law or involving Indian assets.
  • Thomas also acts in competition law cases in the English courts. He has considerable experience in competition damages litigation (including collective proceedings) and in challenges to regulatory decisions.

He has acted at all levels of the English courts and before a wide variety of international tribunals (including WTO panels, the CJEU and ICSID tribunals).

Recent case highlights include acting for Google in its dispute with Epic Games; acting for the  United Kingdom in defending a €2.7 billion infraction action brought before the CJEU and defending MUFG in collective proceedings brought in the CAT in connection with alleged manipulation in the FX markets.

He is a member of the “A Panel” of Junior Counsel to the Crown (Attorney General’s Public International Law Panel).

 

What others say

Public International Law: “Thomas was readily accessible, very smart and exceptionally easy to work with.”
Chambers & Partners UK and Global 2024

Public International Law: ‘Best barrister in the market when it comes to international trade, but also a first-rate PIL generalist – in terms of both analytical and strategic thinking, he is one of the best senior juniors in PIL.’
The Legal 500 2024

International Arbitration: ‘Outstanding analysis and a lovely drafting style. Great team player, contributes strongly to all aspects of a case – he is a pleasure to work with.’
The Legal 500 2024

Public International Law: “On trade law he’s as good as it gets.” “An outstanding advocate and WTO expert renowned for his trade law knowledge.” “When it comes to WTO law he’s in a league of his own.”
Chambers & Partners UK and Global

Competition Law: “A very experienced and assured senior junior, and a very strong drafter.
Chambers & Partners UK and Global

Public International Law: “Tom is an excellent advocate, and has great strategic judgement. This is someone you want in your team for the most complex and challenging international law disputes, particularly if it involves a trade element.”
The Legal 500

International Arbitration: Counsel: “Tom has a razor sharp mind and is an excellent advocate – highly recommended.”
Legal 500

“Insightful and a clear thinker, Tom is user friendly and works well in a team.”
The Legal 500 Asia Pacific – the English Bar

Competition: “Tom has a razor sharp mind and is an excellent advocate.”
The Legal 500

“Stands out as “very experienced in WTO matters”, receiving widespread praise for his top-tier practice.
International Trade & Commodities, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 

“Insightful and a clear thinker, Tom is user friendly and works well in a team.”
The Legal 500 Asia Pacific – the English Bar

Public International Law: “He is user-friendly and approachable. He combines his substantive Indian law experience with his general expertise in international law and arbitration.”
Chambers & Partners UK and Global

Competition Law: “He is good at refining the points and getting down to something that is compelling. He is good at drafting and shaping up the arguments.”
Chambers & Partners UK and Global

Public International Law: “Tom is absolutely brilliant. He’s the total package – calm, client-friendly, super smart and an excellent advocate.”
The Legal 500

International Arbitration: Counsel: “Absolutely brilliant. He’s the total package – calm, client-friendly, super smart and an excellent advocate. He is also without doubt the leading expert at the Bar on WTO and trade law.”
The Legal 500

Competition: “Tom is technically excellent, but his key strength is his approachability. There are no barristers currently working at the Bar in London that offer better client service.”
The Legal 500

Public International Law: “Very clever, thorough and a go-to for WTO matters.”
Chambers Global – The English Bar – Global-wide

“He is very responsive, and provides comprehensive advice that takes into account all aspects of the dispute.”
Legal 500 Asia Pacific – the English Bar

Competition: “Definitely a future star.”
Chambers & Partners UK and Global

Public International Law: “Very clever, thorough and a go-to for WTO matters.”
Chambers  Partners UK

Public International Law: ‘‘One of the most experienced, if not the most experienced, counsel on trade law issues in the UK, he is also excellent on investment treaty issues.’’
The Legal 500

International Arbitration: Counsel: ‘‘Very responsive and always make himself available to discuss matters and turns work around promptly – his advice is comprehensive and accounts not only for the strict legal merits of the position, but also considers the broader strategic perspective of the case.’’
The Legal 500

Competition: ‘‘Significant expertise in competition disputes and gives high quality advice which is measured and considered; calm and composed and easy to deal with.’’
The Legal 500

“A leading practitioner in public international law and WTO law.”
Arbitration, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar

Commercial: “An approachable and hardworking junior of note.”
The Legal 500 Asia Pacific – The English Bar

Public International Law: “Very well respected in international trade.”
Chambers Global  – The English Bar – Global-wide

Competition: “Thoughtful and hard-working,” he’s “a calming influence, who works to build a consensus among parties.” “He’s extremely good value for someone of his level of call.”
Chambers & Partners UK and Global

Public International Law: “Very well respected in international trade.”
Chambers & Partners UK

Public International Law: ‘‘Highly rated for state v state disputes.’’
The Legal 500

“Excellent drafting and industry knowledge” with respondents describing him as “a leading practitioner in public international law and WTO matters”
Arbitration, Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 

Competition: “He is a good team player who is very pleasant to work with.”
Chambers & Partners UK

Public International Law: “Outstanding advocate and WTO expert, renowned for his trade law knowledge.”
Chambers & Partners UK

Public International Law: ‘‘An approachable and hardworking junior.’
The Legal 500

Public International Law: ‘‘Good at getting to the nub of the situation, and his drafting is concise and elegant.’’
The Legal 500

Public International Law: “He combines astute and sound advice with an invaluable “bigger-picture” strategy.’
The Legal 500

Public International Law: “One of the few juniors with a proper understanding of public international law matters.”
The Legal 500

Public International Law: “A measured and convincing advocate with well-tuned analytical skills.’’
The Legal 500

Examples of recent cases
  • Epic v Google and Coll v Google (CAT).  Acting for Google in two claims relating to the Android operating system and the Google Play Store.
  • US pharmaceutical company v Indian pharmaceutical company (LCIA, Mumbai, Indian law).  Acting for a US pharmaceutical company in an arbitration concerning the allocation of tax liabilities under a share purchase agreement and a tax deed.
  • Dye & Durham Ltd v CMA [2023] CAT 46 (CAT).  Acted for the CMA in a challenge to the CMA’s decision to reject a novel merger remedy.
  • Port De Djibouti SA v DP World Djibouti FZCO [2023] EWHC 1189 (Comm).  Acted for the claimant in a Section 67 jurisdiction challenge application.
  • Commission v United Kingdom (CJEU) Acted for the United Kingdom in defending a €2.7 billion claim regarding UK contributions to the EU budget.
  • Michael O’Higgins v Barclay Bank plc [2022] Bus LR 1334.  Acted for MUFG in collective proceedings seeking substantial damages from various banks on account of alleged manipulation in FX markets.
Arbitration & related court applications

Thomas has acted in international commercial arbitrations conducted under all of the major institutional rules.

He has particular expertise in: (1) disputes governed by Indian law (given his dual qualification in India); (2) contractual disputes involving states or state-owned entities (especially in cases involving regulated utilities and networks); and (3) gas price review arbitrations (where he deploys his expertise in handling economic evidence).

Thomas also has experience of acting in arbitration-related court applications.

Relevant cases include:

  • Naftogaz v Gazprom (SCC Arbitrations, Swedish law). Acted for Gazprom in several complex arbitrations regarding the transit and supply of gas to and through Ukraine. The sums in dispute exceeded USD 100 billion and the arbitrations involved two 4-week hearings.
  • ICC Arbitration, Singapore (Indian law). Acted for the Indian party in a private equity dispute regarding exit from a real estate investment. The sums in dispute exceeded USD 100 million.
  • Port De Djibouti SA v DP World Djibouti FZCO [2023] EWHC 1189 (Comm).  Acted for the claimant in a Section 67 jurisdiction challenge application before the Commercial Court.
  • European investor v Asian state (Comm). Acted for a foreign investor in a Section 67 jurisdiction challenge application arising from an investor-state award.
  • LCIA Arbitration, London (English law). Acted for a Mauritius company is a dispute arising out of a renewable energy asset acquisition in India.
  • LCIA Arbitration, London (Indian law). Acted for a Canadian oil and gas company in a dispute concerning the development of an Indian gas field.
  • ICC Arbitration, London (English law). Acted for a UAE party in a dispute arising out of a cement supply contract.
  • LCIA arbitration, London (English law). Acted for an Indian purchaser in a dispute regarding coal shipments.
Commercial dispute resolution

Thomas has acted in heavy multi-party litigation in the English courts and the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

He was instructed in the long-running Air Cargo litigation (which involved two outings to the Court of Appeal and numerous heavy CMCs), the Trucks litigation, the Sportradar litigation and the FX litigation.

Thomas is able to handle the demands of long trials and is very familiar with the complex procedural issues  which arise in English litigation.

Thomas has acted in three of The Lawyer’s Top 20 cases in the past four years: Epic v Google (2023); the FX litigation (2020); and the Trucks litigation (2019).   

Competition

Thomas has broad experience across competition and regulatory litigation. He was part of the team defending various airlines in the long-running Air Cargo cartel damages case (work which was recognised with an award for Cartel Defence Litigation of the Year at the Global Competition Review Awards) and is a contributor to the current edition of Competition Litigation: UK Practice and Procedure (2nd Edn, 2019).

Relevant cases include:

  • Dye & Durham Ltd v CMA [2023] CAT 46 (CAT).  Acted for the CMA its defence of a decision rejecting a novel merger remedy proposed by a provider of could-based services for property transactions.
  • Sportradar v Football Data Co and another (CAT). Acted for the Premier League and other UK football leagues in a claim about sports data and rights to confidential information.
  • FX collective action (CAT). Acted for MUFG in the FX collective proceedings.
  • Allianz v Barclays and others (Comm). Acted for MUFG.
  • Trucks competition damages litigation (CAT). Acted for DAF Trucks.
  • Interchange competition damages litigation (SC). Acted for the European Commission as intervener in the Supreme Court.
  • Case C-591/16 Lundbeck v Commission (CJEU). Acted for the United Kingdom as intervener in a case concerning “pay for delay” patent settlements.
  • GSK and ors v CMA (CAT). Acted for the CMA in various challenges to a decision regarding “pay for delay” settlements of patent litigation.
  • Emerald Supplies Ltd & Ors v British Airways (Ch. D). Acted for Singapore Airlines and various other Part 20 Defendants in the air cargo cartel damages cases.
  • Groupe Eurotunnel SA v Competition Commission and SCOP v Competition Commission (CAT). Acted for the Competition Commission in two judicial reviews of a merger control decision.
Conflict of laws & private international law

 Thomas advises on matters of private international law both under EU law as well as under the common law and retained EU law.

Thomas has advised on: (1) the recognition and enforcement of Dutch collective settlement orders under the Brussels Regulation (recast); (2) the viability of a forum non coveniens defence in a shareholder dispute between English and US parties; (3) the proper classification of a claim for contribution under the Brussels Regulation (recast); (4) “reflexive” application of certain provision in the Brussels Regulation (recast); and (5) the scope of Article 7(2) of the Brussels Regulation (recast).

EU Law

Thomas has wide-ranging expertise in EU law and is well-placed to act in cases where EU law intersects with other areas of law (including domestic English law, investment treaty law, WTO law and public international law).  He retains an Irish qualification and is, therefore, able to appear in the European courts.

Relevant cases include:

  • Case C-378/22 British Airways v Commission (CJEU). Acted for British Airways in a case arising from the Commission’s investigation into the air cargo cartel.
  • Case C-213/19 Commission v United Kingdom (CJEU). Acted for the United Kingdom in a multi-billion euro case regarding UK contributions to the EU budget.
  • Case C-591/16 Lundbeck v Commission (CJEU). Acted for the United Kingdom as intervener in a case concerning “pay for delay” patent settlements.
  • Advising the UK on potential infraction proceedings relating to the duty of sincere cooperation
  • Advising the UK on potential infraction proceedings under the TCA.
Public international law, WTO and investment treaty arbitration

Thomas has unrivalled WTO law expertise and extensive experience in investment treaty law.

He has represented states and corporations in over 20 treaty cases and has appeared before a wide range of international tribunals including arbitral tribunals established under bilateral investment treaties, WTO panels, the WTO’s Appellate Body and the CJEU.

Thomas combines his broad legal knowledge with an in-depth understanding of the commercial, regulatory and political factors that give rise to trade and investment treaty disputes.

Earlier in his career, Thomas practiced at the Advisory Centre on WTO Law in Geneva where he represented a wide range of developing countries in inter-state disputes before the WTO.

Thomas is a member of the “A Panel” of Junior Counsel to the Crown (Attorney General’s Public International Law Panel) and regularly acts for UK government departments on international economic law matters.

Relevant cases include:

WTO

  • Bahrain — Measures Relating to Trade in Goods and Services, and Trade- Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, DS 527 (Qatar v Bahrain). Acted for Bahrain in a dispute regarding sanctions imposed on national security grounds.
  • Australia – Certain Measures Concerning Trademarks, Geographical Indications and Other Plain Packaging Requirements, DS 458 (Cuba v Australia). Acted for Cuba in a dispute regarding plain packaging requirements imposed on tobacco products.
  • South Africa – Anti-Dumping Duties on Frozen Meat of Fowls from Brazil, DS 439 (Brazil v South Africa). Acted for South Africa in a dispute regarding antidumping measures imposed on imports of poultry.
  • Thailand – Customs and Fiscal Measures on Cigarettes from the Philippines, DS 371 (Philippines v Thailand). Acted for Thailand in its defence of fiscal and regulatory measures applied to imported cigarettes.
  • European Communities – Regime for the Importation of Bananas, DS 361 (Colombia & ors v EU). Acted for Colombia in multi-state mediation proceedings regarding the European Union’s import regime for bananas conducted by WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy.
  • United States – Measures Relating to Shrimp from Thailand, DS 343 (Thailand v United States). Acted for Thailand in its challenge to enhanced bonding requirements imposed by the United States on importers of shrimp.
  • Korea – Anti-Dumping Duties on Imports for Certain Paper from Indonesia, DS 312 (Indonesia v Korea). Acted for Indonesia in its challenge to anti-dumping duties imposed on imports of paper.
  • European Communities – The ACP-EC Partnership Agreement, WT/L/ 616, WT/L/625, First and Second Recourse to ad-hoc arbitration pursuant to the Doha Ministerial Decision of 14 November 2001 (Ecuador & ors v EU). Acted for Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Guatemala in their challenges to proposed European Union import tariffs on bananas.
  • European Communities – Export Subsidies on Sugar, DS 283 (Thailand v EU). Acted for Thailand in its challenge to the European Union’s subsidy regime in respect of sugar.
  • European Communities – Conditions for the Granting of Tariff Preferences to Developing Countries, DS 246 (India v EU). Acted for India in its challenge to tariff preferences granted by the European Union to textile products from twelve developing countries.

Investment treaty arbitrations

  • UAE investor v European State. Advising a European state in a dispute relating to a real estate investment.
  • French investor v South Asian State, UNCITRAL arbitration, London. Acted for a French investor in a dispute relating to an infrastructure investment.
  • French investor v European State, UNCITRAL arbitration, The Hague. Acted for a European State in a dispute arising from the revocation of marketing authorisations for pharmaceutical products.
  • US investor and Dutch investor v Central Asian State, ICSID arbitration, London. Acted for two energy companies in a dispute relating to the imposition of price controls in the electricity sector on competition law grounds.
  • Millicom v Senegal, ICSID Case No. ARB/08/20, Paris. Acted for a telecom operator in a dispute relating to the revocation of a telecom license.
Revenue law, trade remedies and customs

Thomas is well-placed to advise on the full-spectrum of trade and customs-related matters arising following Brexit. He draws on his knowledge of EU law, WTO law, and UK and EU policy processes to design solutions for his clients and frequently acts for UK government departments on complex trade and regulatory matters involving the TCA and other treaties.

Thomas also has considerable experience of assisting in trade remedies investigations and is used to working closely with economic and accounting experts in that context.  He has acted for private respondents and for investigating authorities (including the UK’s Trade Remedies Authority) in anti-dumping, countervailing duty and safeguards investigations.

  • Advised a Japanese multinational on rules of origin under the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement.
  • Advised an importer of steel products on the scope of a price undertaking.
  • Advised a UK magic circle law firm on post-Brexit market access to the EU.
  • Advised a stock exchange on GATS and FTA-compatibility of certain policies implemented by a regulator.
  • Advised a UK importer on anti-circumvention rules in connection with an EU anti-dumping measure.
  • Advised a German importer on customs classification issues.
  • Advised a Taiwanese corporation on an Indian anti-dumping investigation.
  • Advised a US corporation on a Chinese anti-dumping investigation.
  • Advised a state-owned corporation on the countervailing duty risks associated with a tax exemption.
  • Advised an importer on quota allocation rules imposed by DEFRA.
Career
  • 2023 onwards: Essex Court Chambers, London
  • 2012-2023: Monckton Chambers, London
  • 2010-2012: Allen & Overy LLP, London
  • 2002-2009: Advisory Centre on WTO Law, Geneva
Education
  • MPhil, Oxford University (2001)
  • BCL, Oxford University (2000)
  • BA, LLB (Hons), National Law School of India University (1999)
Awards
  • Visiting Professor, London School of Economics (2017-2020)
  • Rhodes Scholarship, India (1999)
Publications

Thomas’ publications include:

  • Arbitration and the Act of State doctrine [2020] Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly 359.
  • Competition Litigation: UK Practice and Procedure, Mark Brealey QC and Kyla George (eds) (Oxford University Press, 2nd Edn, 2019) (contributor).
  • Moral Damages in Investment Arbitration: Punitive Damages in Compensatory Clothing? 29 Arbitration International 45 (2013) (with Stephen Jagusch).
  • The law of permissible WTO retaliation in Bown and Pauwelyn (eds), The Law, Economics and Politics of Trade Retaliation in WTO Dispute Settlement (Cambridge University Press, 2010).
  • World Trade and International Law in Cali (ed), International Law for International Relations (Oxford University Press, 2009).
  • World Trade Organization Remedies and the Assessment of Proportionality: Equivalence and Appropriateness, 48 Harvard International Law Journal 337 (2007).
  • Giving Legal Effect to the Results of WTO Trade Negotiations: An Analysis of the Methods of Changing WTO Law, 9 Journal of International Economic Law 989 (2006) (with Hunter Nottage).