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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, commodities and international arbitration.

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 a contract for the sale of oil 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.

Specialisations: 

  • General Commercial
  • Shipping
  • Energy and Commodities
  • International Arbitration

Principal Cases: 

General Commercial

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).

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.

Obtaining an anti-suit injunction for Dell to restrain proceedings brought by a distributor in Morocco in breach of an arbitration agreement (led by Thomas Raphael QC).

Acting for a major European bank in an application in the Commercial Court arising out of litigation concerning an allegedly fraudulent claim under a marine insurance policy (led by Julian Kenny QC).

Acting for a major international bank in respect of a dispute over entitlement to investment management fees amounting to in excess of USD30 million.

Acting for a former director of a Championship football club in a claim in the Chancery Division concerning alleged breaches of directors’ duties and defamation (led by Christopher Newman).

Acting for a leading internet games company in a claim in the Commercial Court concerning a contract for the redirection of internet traffic to a target website.

Shipping

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).

Acting for bunker suppliers in the OW bunker litigation in interpleader proceedings commenced by shipowners in the Admiralty Court (led by Timothy Young QC).

Acting for shipowners in a claim in the Commercial Court concerning alleged contamination of a cargo of fuel oil.

Acting for shipowners in a claim in the Commercial Court in respect of unpaid freight and demurrage.

LMAA arbitrations

  • Thomas is instructed in a number of LMAA arbitrations. Recent examples include:
  • A case concerning claims of breach of Articles III Rules 1 and 2 of the Hague-Visby Rules, as well as allegations of fraud, arising out of damage to a cargo of vegetable oil after loading (led by Charles Kimmins QC).
  • A claim for an indemnity under Article III Rule 5 of the Hague-Visby Rules as a result of inaccurate particulars furnished in a bill of lading for the carriage of a cargo of crude oil.
  • An off-hire dispute arising under a charterparty for an offshore vessel for use in the Gulf of Mexico worth in excess of USD14 million.
  • An arbitration concerning a USD44 million claim for unpaid hire and repair costs said to be due under a bareboat charterparty for an offshore accommodation barge.
  • An unsafe port claim concerning a collision with a finger pier at a cement discharging facility in the United States of America.
  • A claim under the implied indemnity in a time charterparty for the consequences of following charterers’ orders in respect of passage through the Suez canal and discharge in Israel.
  • 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

Acting for the buyer in a claim in the Commercial Court concerning the effect of sanctions of a contract for the sale of Belarusian bio-fuel (led by Guy Morpuss QC).

Acting for the seller in a claim in the Commercial Court concerning liability for Scandinavian excise duties under sale contracts for cargoes of fuel oil.

An LMAA arbitration in respect of a dispute about the Fe content of a cargo of iron ore sold under an FOB contract of sale.

A FOSFA arbitration concerning allegations that a cargo of palm oil was off-specification and issues of mitigation.

International Arbitration

An ICC gas-price review arbitration in Munich worth in excess of Euros 4 billion in respect of a dispute under a long-term take-or-pay contract governed by Italian law for the sale of Libyan gas to Italy (with Bonelli Erede Pappalardo).

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 worth in excess of USD250 million (led by Duncan McCall QC).

An LCIA arbitration in respect of a disputed claim under a letter of guarantee relating to an investment by a Middle Eastern state-owned property developer (led by Duncan McCall QC).

An arbitration under a letter of guarantee provided by a private equity company in respect of a USD44 million debt said to be due under contracts entered into by its investment subsidiaries (led by Charles Kimmins QC).

Acting for a major European construction company in an ICC arbitration in Milan in a dispute under a letter of intent arising out of the tendering process for the construction of a motorway in Romania.

An ICC arbitration in Panama City governed by Peruvian law concerning a dispute over an oil contract entered into by a South American stated-owned oil company.

An ad hoc arbitration in London between two major international insurance companies concerning issues of construction of a reinsurance policy.

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

Acting for a major international bank in an LCIA arbitration arising under long-term contracts for the sale and purchase of iron ore produced by a mine in Sierra Leone.

Acting for a European trade credit bank in an LCIA arbitration concerning defaults under a contract for the sale of steel to a Middle Eastern construction company.

Education and Career: 

Education

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

City University: GDL, Distinction (2010)

 

Scholarships

Astbury Scholarship, Middle Temple (2010 and 2011)

Scholar of New College (2006)

 

Mooting

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

 

Publications: 

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

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