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Thomas Leary

Tom Leary has a broad commercial practice in line with Chambers’ profile. He acts in a wide range of commercial disputes and has represented clients in the High Court (Queen’s Bench and Chancery Divisions), the County Courts and arbitration, including CCMCs and a range of interlocutory applications (e.g. freezing injunctions, relief from sanctions and extensions of time).

Tom is regularly led as junior counsel in High Court litigation and heavy arbitrations, including a six-week hearing of a US$200m+ claim against a Caribbean state for breach of a development agreement and an on-going US$300m+ UNCITRAL arbitration arising out of a contract for off-shore drilling services.

Prior to commencing practice at the Bar, Tom studied law at Oxford, Leiden and Toronto. He also worked as the editor of the official law reports for a variety of off-shore jurisdictions and as the Judicial Assistant to Lord Mance in the Supreme Court.

Recent Cases

Tom's recent work includes:

  • Acting as sole counsel for the claimant in a £2m+ energy dispute concerning the supply of a jack-up barge for off-shore borehole drilling.
  • Acting as sole counsel for a defendant in a c.£800,000 High Court claim concerning an alleged multi-stage boiler room fraud involving the sale of "fancy" coloured diamonds.
  • Acting for a major national oil company in a US$300m+ UNCITRAL arbitration in a dispute under a drilling services contract (led by Duncan Matthews QC and Edward Ho).
  • Six-week arbitration concerning a US$200m+ claim against a Caribbean state for breach of a development agreement, expropriation of concessions, breaches of lease and defamation (led by John Passmore QC).
  • Acting for Charterers in an arbitration concerning damage to a chemical tanker following over-pressurisation of the cargo tanks during loading (assisting Charles Kimmins QC and Thomas Corby).
  • Advising a national provider of telecommunication services on potential claims under several Telemetry Agreements.

Specialisations: 

Arbitration and related applications

Tom’s experience of arbitration and related court applications includes:

  • Acting as sole counsel for the claimant in an on-going £2m+ energy arbitration concerning the charter of a jack-up barge for off-shore borehole drilling.
  • Acting for major national oil company in an on-going US$300+m UNCITRAL Arbitration in a dispute under a drilling services contract (led by Duncan Matthews QC and Edward Ho).
  • Six-week arbitration concerning a US$200m+ claim against a Caribbean state for breach of a development agreement, expropriation of concessions, breaches of lease and defamation (led by John Passmore QC).
  • Junior counsel in a High Court application for worldwide freezing orders in support of an arbitration concerning an investment fund facility (led by Tim Hill QC).
  • Acting for Charterers in an arbitration concerning damage to a chemical tanker following overpressurisation of the cargo tanks during loading (assisting Charles Kimmins QC and Thomas Corby).
  • Advising brokers on interim measures in relation to a substantial claim for commission arising from the sale of a superyacht.
  • Drafting claim submissions in numerous charter and commodities disputes.
  • Five-week arbitration concerning a US$500m+ dispute arising out of the construction and delivery of semi-submersible drilling rigs from Chinese to Brazilian interests (as a pupil).
  • ICSID and ICC arbitrations involving the Governments of Pakistan and Balochistan and concerning a dispute about a joint venture agreement for the exploration of minerals (as a pupil).
  • Assuranceforeningen Gard Gjensidig v The International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund 1971 [2014] 2 Lloyd's Rep 219: concerning a freezing order in support of claims arising out of an oil spill in Venezuela (as a pupil).

 

Energy and Natural Resources

Tom’s experience of energy and natural resources disputes includes:

  • Acting as sole counsel for the claimant in an on-going £2m+ energy arbitration concerning the charter of a jack-up barge for off-shore borehole drilling.
  • Acting as junior counsel for major national oil company in an on-going US$300+ million UNCITRAL Arbitration in a dispute under a drilling services contract (led by Duncan Matthews QC and Edward Ho).
  • Six-week arbitration concerning a US$200m+ claim against a Caribbean state for breach of a development agreement, expropriation of concessions, breaches of lease and defamation (led by John Passmore QC).
  • Five-week arbitration concerning a $500m+ dispute arising out of the construction and delivery of semi-submersible drilling rigs from Chinese to Brazilian interests (as a pupil).
  • ICSID and ICC arbitrations involving the Governments of Pakistan and Balochistan and concerning a dispute about a joint venture agreement for the exploration of minerals (as a pupil).
  • Assuranceforeningen Gard Gjensidig v The International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund 1971 [2014] 2 Lloyd's Rep 219: concerning a freezing order in support of claims arising out of an oil spill in Venezuela (as a pupil).
Civil Fraud and Asset Tracing

Tom’s experience of civil fraud and asset tracing includes:

  • Acting as sole counsel for a defendant in a c.£800,000 High Court claim concerning an alleged multi-stage boiler room fraud involving the sale of "fancy" coloured diamonds.
  • Acting as junior counsel in a High Court application for worldwide freezing orders in support of an arbitration concerning an investment fund facility (led by Tim Hill QC).
  • Advising Joint Liquidators in respect of preferences and transactions alleged to have been made at an undervalue.
  • Advising on the potential illegality of major bank loans (amounting to US$1.8b+) to State-backed African companies.
  • Advising on the liability of an international charity to its institutional funders for potential fraud by its foreign partners.
Shipping, Commodities and International Trade

Tom’s experience of shipping, commodities and international trade includes:

  • Acting as sole counsel for the claimant in an on-going £2m+ energy arbitration concerning the charter of a jack-up barge for off-shore borehole drilling.
  • Advising cargo interests in respect of a US$14m+ dispute over a consignment of steel coils following the hijacking and release of the vessel and raising issues of jurisdiction and sub-bailment (with David Lewis QC).
  • Acting for Charterers in an arbitration concerning damage to a chemical tanker following overpressurisation of the cargo tanks during loading (assisting Charles Kimmins QC and Thomas Corby).
  • Advising brokers on interim measures in relation to a substantial claim for commission arising from the sale of a superyacht.
  • Acting for the defendant in a US$22m+ FOSFA arbitration arising out of an alleged failure to complete loading or accept cargo.
  • Advising in relation to an off-hire dispute arising out of defective cranes.
  • British America Tobacco Denmark A/S and others v Kazemir Transport BV; British America Tobacco Switzerland SA v H Essers Security Logistics BV and another [2015] UKSC 65: concerning the jurisdiction of the English court in relation to successive carriers under the CMR Convention 1958 (as a Judicial Assistant to Lord Mance).
  • Bunge SA v Nidera BV [2015] UKSC 43: concerning the construction and application of the GAFTA Default Clause and the application of The Golden Victory [2007] 2 AC 353 (as a Judicial Assistant to Lord Mance).
  • Bunge SA v Nibulon Trading BV [2014] 1 Lloyd's Rep 393: concerning the relationship between the discretions of first-tier tribunals and boards of appeal to admit claims that are time barred under the GAFTA arbitration rules (as a pupil).
Banking and Finance

Tom’s experience of banking and finance includes:

  • Advising on the potential illegality of major bank loans (amounting to US$1.8b+) to State-backed African companies.
  • Advising on the liability of an international charity to its institutional funders for potential fraud by its foreign partners.
  • Acting as junior counsel in a High Court application for worldwide freezing orders in support of an arbitration concerning an investment fund facility (led by Tim Hill QC).
  • Drafting submissions for an international bank in a High Court dispute arising out of a revolving loan and overdraft facility.
  • Advising Joint Liquidators in respect of preferences and transactions alleged to have been made at an undervalue.
  • Advising in respect of the termination of a contract for the provision of corporate finance services.
  • Crédit Agricole Corporation and Investment Bank v Papadimitriou [2015] UKPC 13: concerning the test of constructive knowledge for the purposes of determining whether a bank is a bona fide purchaser of assets without notice of a prior interest (as a Judicial Assistant to Lord Mance).

 

Technology and Telecoms

Tom’s experience of technology and telecom disputes includes:

  • Advising a national provider of telecommunication services on potential claims under several telemetry agreements.
  • Advising a corporate client on termination of a contract for the provision of internet marketing services.
Insolvency

Tom’s experience of insolvency includes:

  • Advising Joint Liquidators in respect of preferences and transactions alleged to have been made at an undervalue.
  • Applying to the High Court for administration orders.
  • Applying to the County Court to set aside a statutory demand.
  • Trustees of the Olympic Airlines SA Pension and Life Assurance Scheme v Olympic Airlines SA [2015] UKSC 27: concerning the meaning of "establishment" in EU Regulation 1346/2000 on Insolvency Proceedings (as a Judicial Assistant to Lord Mance).
  • Jetivia SA v Bilta (UK) Ltd [2015] UKSC 23: concerning whether the illegality defence bars claims by a company against its directors for breach of their duties and whether section 213 of the Insolvency Act 1986 has extra-territorial effect (as a Judicial Assistant to Lord Mance).
Infrastructure and Property

Tom’s experience of infrastructure and property disputes includes:

  • Six-week arbitration concerning a US$200m+ claim against a Caribbean state for breach of a development agreement, expropriation of concessions, breaches of lease and defamation (led by John Passmore QC).
  • Acting for the defendant in a dispute concerning the construction of a holiday home and a licence for its use. 
Insurance

Tom’s experience of insurance disputes includes:

  • Advising a company on the merits of an insurance claim for the cost of alternative accommodation arising out of water damage to residential property.

Tom also co-authored (with Christopher Hancock QC) a chapter on The Insurer’s Obligations of Good Faith and the Insurance Act 2015 in The Modern Law of Marine Insurance: Volume 4.

Pro Bono and Human Rights

Tom regularly undertakes pro bono work through the Bar Pro Bono Unit and A4ID. His recent work includes:

  • Advising on the potential illegality of major bank loans (amounting to US$1.8b+) to State-backed African companies.
  • Advising on the potential liability of an international charity to its institutional funders for potential fraud by its foreign partners.
  • Acting for a defendant in a c.£800,000 High Court claim concerning an alleged multi-stage boiler room fraud involving the sale of "fancy" coloured diamonds.
  • Advising on potential claims against a negligent mortgage advisor.

Education and Career: 

Career

Judicial Assistant to Lord Mance (2014-2015)

Pupil at 20 Essex Street (2013-2014)

Editor of the law reports for the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar and Guernsey (2012-2013)

Education

Kaplan Law School: BPTC (2011-2012)

University of Toronto: LLM (2010-2011)

Leiden University: Year abroad studying European and public international law (2008-2009)

Christ Church, Oxford: BA (Hons) Law with Law Studies in Europe (2006-2010)

Scholarships and Prizes

Walter Wigglesworth Scholarship, Lincoln's Inn (2013)

Winner of the Atkin's Court Forms 75th Anniversary Inter-Inn Mooting Competition (2012)

Winner of the Lincoln's Inn BPTC Mooting Competition (2012)

Canadian Rhodes Scholars Foundation Scholarship (2010-2011)

Lord Mansfield Scholarship, Lincoln's Inn (2010)

Hardwicke Entrance Scholarship, Lincoln's Inn (2010)

John V. Lovitt Prize for Jurisprudence, Christ Church, Oxford (2008)

Lovells Scholarship, Christ Church, Oxford (2007-2010)

Slaughter and May Prize for Constitutional Law, Oxford University (2007)

Publications: 

20 Essex Street briefing: 'I think I'd better leave right now: Brexit and the prerogative power'. November 2016

20 Essex Street case update: 'As good as gold? Investor-state arbitration pays off for Canadian mining company', April 2016

The Insurer's Obligations of Good Faith and the Insurance Act 2015, in The Modern Law of Marine Insurance: Volume 4 (co-authored with Christopher Hancock QC).

First Thoughts on the Judicial Interpretation of Private International Law Instruments at the EU Level: a talk for a conference in Aberdeen on cross-border litigation in Europe.

Appointments and Society Memberships: 

  • The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn
  • COMBAR
  • ICC
  • LCIA Young International Arbitration Group
  • London Shipping Law Centre
  • Young Fraud Lawyers Association (YFLA)
  • London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association
  • Bar Pro Bono Unit
  • Bar Human Rights Committee
  • A4ID
  • The Commercial Fraud Lawyers Association