Thomas Francis

Call: 2015 (England & Wales); 2021 (AIFC) 

“[A] very helpful response”

The Law Commission

“Thomas was excellent at fighting our case, he was very impressive.”

Private Client

Practice Summary

Tom has a broad practice across Chambers’ main areas of work, with a focus on public law, regulatory law, commercial litigation and arbitration and public international law.

He has appeared unled before every division of the High Court and before the County Court, First-tier Tribunal (SEND; Health, Education and Social Care), disciplinary panels and tribunals constituted under a range of institutional rules. He has experience of working as part of larger teams before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, Court of Appeal and Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

His clients range from detainees to businessmen, NGOs to government departments and statutory regulators to international and multinational organisations. He pairs his commercial work with a substantial pro bono practice.

In public law, Tom acts for and against public bodies, with particular expertise in judicial review, inquiries, education and local government law, including adult social care, mental capacity and mental health. His civil liberties and human rights practice is both domestic and international in nature, ranging from claims under the HRA to crimes in international law. Recent highlights include authoring a report on crimes against the Yazidis and advising an NGO on libel risk arising from a report on the international arms trade. On behalf of English PEN, Tom also part-authored a response to the Law Commission’s September 2020 review of the Official Secrets Act, to which the Commissioner devoted a chapter in her report and whose recommendations she adopted.

In the commercial sphere, Tom is regularly instructed by financial services regulators both in the UK and overseas. He has been seconded to the Enforcement division of the Financial Conduct Authority and has worked with its General Counsel’s Division and Litigation and Legal Review team.

His wider commercial experience includes agency agreements; commercial contracts; conflict of laws; insurance; interim remedies including anti-suit and freezing injunctions; joint ventures; pensions; private equity; real property; the sale of goods; the sale of shares; securities; and regulatory investigations into money laundering, financial crime and the fraudulent transfers of assets.

Highlights of such work include claims under ICSID Rules concerning bond ‘haircuts’ in the context of sovereign debt restructuring; arbitrations under ICC Rules concerning upstream oil & gas companies; a mediation between a Euronex NV-listed company and a major international pharmaceutical company concerning damages for breach of a manufacturing and development agreement; a Commercial Court claim concerning breaches of a repurchase (‘repo’) agreement where the assets in question were illiquid and unmarketable; a matter before the Dubai Land Department arising out of the liquidation of a cancelled real estate project; a provisional claim under the Iraq-Japan bilateral investment treaty for recovery under a testamentary trust; and drafting for a joint venture company an investors’ agreement providing management services in the energy, infrastructure, project development and EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) sectors. Tom has also taught international commercial arbitration as part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law Development Program.

Before training for the Bar, Tom worked for the United Nations in Lebanon and for NGOs in Afghanistan and Egypt. As such, he has extensive experience of working – both in a commercial and human rights context – with the application of foreign law. In addition to England & Wales, Tom has rights of audience before the Abu Dhabi Global Market Courts and the Astana International Financial Centre Court. He speaks Arabic to a professional standard.

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