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Thomas Corby

Thomas has a broad commercial practice with a particular focus on shipping, energy, international trade and financial services.  He worked as a researcher on the fourth edition of Voyage Charters.  Prior to coming to the bar Thomas completed a six-month scholarship scheme in KPMG’s global financial services practice as well an investment banking internship. As a result, Thomas also has a good understanding of the practical concerns and complexities of financial services litigation.

Thomas has appeared as sole counsel in the Court of Appeal, High Court and County Courts.  He has 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 a major international gas-price review arbitration.

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.

Principal Cases

High Court

Thomas has been instructed in the following High Court matters:

  • The English Electric Company Limited v Alstom UK Limited [2015] EWHC 924 (QB). 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).
  • Thomas is currently instructed as sole counsel for physical suppliers in a Part 86 Stakeholder claim in the Admiralty Court arising out of the insolvency of the OW Bunker group.
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • A common law action on an arbitration award, arising from a dispute under a bill of lading, for a declaration that the award is valid and binding.
  • An application disputing the jurisdiction of the court to hear a claim brought by stevedores relying on a Himalaya clause to limit their liability in respect of damage to cargo pursuant to the Hague-Visby Rules.
  • A dispute involving the largest internet games company concerning non-performance under a marketing retainer agreement.
  • A professional negligence claim brought against a leading firm of solicitors (led by Julian Kenny).

As a pupil:

  • Thomas assisted Iain Milligan QC and Julian Kenny on Re Lehman Brothers International (Europe) (In Administration) [2012] EWHC 1072 (Ch), a case concerning the correct interpretation of the 1992 ISDA Master Agreement.
  • Thomas assisted Julian Kenny on The Triton Lark [2012] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 457[2012], a case concerning the correct construction of the Conwartime clause.


  • A case concerning damage to a chemical tanker following overpressurisation of the cargo tanks on loading (led by Charles Kimmins QC).
  • A gas-price review 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).
  • A case concerning a dispute worth more than $14 million over the correct construction of a hire-calculation clause under a long-term time charterparty (led by Charles Kimmins 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 case 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 shareholder dispute worth $450 million concerning one of Eastern Europe’s largest alcoholic drinks companies (led by Duncan Matthews QC and Blair Leahy).
  • A partnership dispute arising from the purchase of one of the UK’s leading property investment companies (led by Philip Edey QC).
  • A demurrage/detention dispute involving the Ministry of Trade of a Middle Eastern government (led by Michael Ashcroft QC).

As a pupil, Thomas assisted Stephen Males QC and Malcolm Jarvis on a case worth $50 million arising from a supply contract for oil and gas from Kazakhstan.

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)

Oppidan Scholar, Eton College (2001)



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