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Thomas Corby

Thomas was highly recommended in Legal Week’s “Stars of the Bar 2017” and has a broad commercial practice with a particular focus on shipping, energy, international trade and financial services.

Thomas has appeared as sole counsel in the Court of Appeal, High Court and County Courts. He also has extensive experience of arbitration under a variety of rules (ICC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, LMAA, FOSFA and GAFTA) both as sole counsel and led. This includes acting as sole English counsel in significant international arbitrations such as a gas-price review arbitration in Munich, an arbitration in Panama City arising under an FOB contract and a construction arbitration in Milan.

Thomas is especially aware of the needs of those instructing him having undertaken secondments in the international arbitration and shipping departments of two major international law firms. He is happy to talk through issues prior to any formal instruction and recognises the importance of flexibility.

Thomas enjoys playing football, cricket and golf.


  • General Commercial
  • Shipping
  • Energy and Commodities
  • Insurance

Principal Cases: 

General Commercial

The English Electric Company Limited v Alstom UK Limited [2015] EWHC 924 (QB); [2016] EWCA Civ 1314 - A case concerning the extent to which liability for negligently exposing an engineering apprentice to asbestos could be passed up a chain of indemnities in sale and purchase agreements (led by David Lewis QC).

Associated Electrical Industries Limited v Alstom UK [2014] EWHC 430 (Comm) - A case considering the correct approach to procedural default in light of the Jackson Reforms and the decision of the Court of Appeal in Mitchell v News Group Newspapers Limited [2013] EWCA Civ 1537.


FSL-9 PTE Ltd v Norwegian Hull Club [2016] 2 All E.R. (Comm) 576 - A case about whether a “liberty to apply” provision in a P&I Club letter of undertaking conferred on the court a power to compel a P&I Club to put up further security (led by Charles Kimmins QC).

Geden Operations Ltd v Bulk Handy Holdings Inc (The M/V “Bulk Uruguay”) [2014] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 66 - A s69 appeal concerning a time charterer’s right to order a vessel to transit the Gulf of Aden (led by Charles Kimmins QC).

LMAA arbitrations

Thomas is instructed in a number of LMAA arbitrations. Recent examples include:

  • An off-hire dispute arising under a charterparty for an offshore support vessel for use in the Gulf of Mexico worth in excess of US$ 14 million (sole counsel).
  • A dispute arising out of damage to a vessel during loading a cargo of palm oil raising issues as to an owner’s right to an indemnity and whether the port was unsafe (led by Charles Kimmins QC).
  • An arbitration considering the illegality of a time charterparty entered into to finance the construction of a vessel under an illegal shipbuilding contract (led by Andrew Baker QC).
  • A case concerning an owner’s right under a time charterparty to rely on a piracy clause to refuse a charterer’s order to proceed through the Gulf of Aden (led by Charles Kimmins QC).
  • A demurrage/detention dispute involving the Ministry of Trade of a Middle Eastern government (led by Michael Ashcroft QC).

Energy and Commodities

An ICC arbitration in Panama City concerning a dispute under an FOB contract for the sale of naphtha (sole counsel).

An LCIA arbitration arising under long-term contracts for the sale and purchase of iron ore produced by a mine in Sierra Leone (sole counsel).

A gas-price review arbitration (ICC) in Munich under a long-term take-or-pay contract for the sale of 4 billion cubic metres of Libyan gas per year to Italy (with Bonelli Erede Pappalardo).

International Arbitration

An LCIA arbitration arising out of a dispute under a joint-venture agreement for the construction of a major-mixed use urban development in Russia (led by Duncan McCall QC).

An ICC arbitration in Milan concerning a disagreement over whether a letter of intent was sufficient to amount to a binding promise to grant a party a subcontract for the construction of part of a motorway in Romania (with Bonelli Erede Pappalardo).

An LCIA arbitration in respect of a shareholder dispute worth $450 million concerning one of Eastern Europe’s largest alcoholic drinks companies (led by Duncan Matthews QC and Blair Leahy).


The London Steam Ship Owners Mutual Insurance Association Ltd v The Kingdom of Spain and The French State (The “Prestige”) (No 2) [2014] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 309  A multi-billion Euro oil pollution case arising out of the loss of the M/T Prestige off the coast of Spain in 2002, involving applications under s66, 67 and 72 of the Arbitration Act 1996.  The case raised conflicts of law issues, including a consideration of the Through Transport doctrine, sovereign immunity and arbitrability (led by Christopher Hancock QC and Charlotte Tan).

Education and Career: 


New College, Oxford: BA (Hons) First (2008)

City University: GDL, Distinction (2010)



Astbury Scholarship, Middle Temple (2010 and 2011)

Scholar of New College (2006)



Finalist in the Middle Temple Rosamund Smith Mooting Cup (2010)



Thomas worked as a researcher on the fourth edition of Voyage Charters.

Appointments and Society Memberships: 

  • Bar Pro Bono Unit
  • Mentor for Making the Leap
  • Middle Temple Committee for Equality, Diversity and Social Mobility