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Tom Hickman is recognised as a leading barrister across a broad range of practice areas. He is highly rated for his intellectual ability, advocacy and legal acumen. He undertakes Commercial, Media & Entertainment, Sport, EU & Competition, Public & Regulatory, Procurement, Civil Liberties & Human Rights, Energy, Public International law and Professional Discipline. He is ranked by Chambers and Partners legal directory in five distinct practice areas and is recognised as the “Star Practitioner” in two.
In 2016-7, Tom was at the center of R (Miller) v Minister for Brexit, acting for Gina Miller and co-authoring the blog post Pulling the Article 50 'Trigger': Parliament's Indispensable Role, which had advanced the argument that the Prime Minister cannot give notice
to leave the EU without an Act of Parliament. With ‘hits’ in the hundreds of thousands, the blog was widely cited in the press, parliamentary briefing papers and commentary.
Tom has experience of litigating in a wide variety of courts and tribunals including the Commercial Court, Chancery Division, IPEC, Administrative Court, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, sports and professional disciplinary panels, CJEU and the European Court of Human Rights. He has particular experience at appellate levels, and has appeared in twelve cases before the House of Lords/Supreme Court and numerous cases before the Court of Appeal.
Tom is also a Reader in Law and member of the Law Faculty at University College London and widely published author on legal issues.
He was named Public Law and Human Rights Junior of the Year at the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2017 and was named as one of the "Hot 100" lawyers in the UK by The Lawyer magazine in 2017.
Tom is a member of the Attorney General's A Panel. In 2017 he was appointed as the Counsel to the Investigatory Powers Commissioner.
Tom acts in commercial matters ranging from commercial fraud to intellectual property cases. He has considerable experience in obtaining freezing injunctions, Norwich Pharmacal injunctions and other commercial remedies such as orders for sale both pre-judgment and post-judgment.
Tom often acts in complex cases that crossover with other areas of practice, in particular cases with a public law, international law or human rights angle. For example, Carey Group Plc v AIB Group (UK Ltd)  Ch 304 concerned the compulsory acquisition of secured lending facilities in the UK by the Irish National Asset Management Agency, pursuant to Irish legislation. In Snoras Bank v Antonov  EWHC 131 (Comm Ct) Tom acted for Vladimir Antonov, the former owner of a Lithuanian Bank in a substantial freezing injunction and civil fraud claim raising issues about the right against self incrimination in foreign criminal courts and in extradition proceedings. It is a leading case on confidentiality rings.
This commercial court case challenges the the rescission of a settlement agreement between Bernard Ecclestone and HM Revenue and Customs relating to the settlement of the investigation into the sale of the rights to F1 Racing. The issues include misrepresentation and fraud. The matter is listed for trial in 2017.
Acting for Tate & Lyle Sugar, Tom is engaged in this ongoing action concerning the allegedly wrongful diversion of a sugar cargo. The claim also involves allegations of conversion, procuring breach of contract, deceit and conspiracy.
Acting for the high street retailer H&M, Tom successfully resisted an EU-wide injunction against the company for selling infringing brassieres contrary to a settlement agreement. Distinguishing Experience Hendrix, the court also refused to grant an account of profits.
Acted for HP Ltd in a trade mark infringement and conspiracy claim concerning the acquisition and sale of computer servers.
Tom is acting for Renault Formula 1 Team in a sponsorship dispute over the use of the YotaPhone brand. The claim is proceeding in the commercial court.
Tom is acting for Gillingham FC in substantial contractual disputes concerning hospitality at the Club’s ground and hospitality facilities.
Claim by owner of hotel chain against an operating company for delivery-up of database information and documents and for breach of fiduciary duty.
Substantial civil fraud claim against Vladimir Antonov, the former owner of a Lithuanian Bank. The judgment of Gloster J relates to various interlocutory issues, including confidentiality rings, the relationship between freezing orders in different jurisdictions, criminal proceedings and extradition proceedings, and the right against self-incrimination.
Tom is recognised by Chambers & Partners UK as a “Star Individual” in Administrative & Public Law. He regularly appears in the Administrative Court in some of the most high profile and difficult public law cases both for Claimants and for the Government as a member of the Attorney General’s A Panel.
Tom also conducts public law litigation abroad, subject to local requirements. For instance he has conducted two major commercial judicial reviews in the Turks and Caicos Islands, under Order 53 procedure concerning the regulation of private activities in the airport. The first of these led to the important judgment in Flight Support Ltd v The Turks and Caicos Islands Airport Authority in which the Court held that the TCI Airports Authority had no power to enter a joint venture with a multinational ground handling company.
As well as commercial judicial reviews, Tom has acted in many human rights cases, judicial reviews of disciplinary proceedings, and disputes concerning energy regulation (all separately listed).
Clients include the Advertising Standards Authority, Manchester City Council, the General Dental Council, Ofcom, Ofgem, the Institute of Chartered Accountants and Shell.
Tom is author of a leading book on public law (Public Law After the Human Rights Act (Hart 2010)) and has written extensively in and blogs journals in the UK and abroad on public law. He teaches and examines public law at UCL.
“Phenomenal”Legal 500, 2015
“Combines intellect with good judgement and crisp argument”Legal 500, 2016
“A brilliant mind, academically and strategically. He is very good to bounce ideas off and is second to none for public law”Chambers UK, 2017
“He is very bright and a pleasure to work with.”Chambers UK, 2018
“An innovative, strategic thinker and a robust advocate.”Legal 500, 2017
Acted successfully for the Claimant in a challenge to the Prime Minister’s ability to issue a declaration triggering the UK’s withdrawal from the EU without authorisation from an Act of Parliament.
Ongoing judicial review of decision by the ASA that a ‘lookalike’ passport website is misleading. Tom is acting for the Advertising Standards Agency.
Tom acted for the Government in successfully defending this challenge to the 2015 Local Government Settlement and the structure of the Local Government Grant, issues of major significance and sensitivity.
Tom acted in this challenge to the decision of the Turks and Caicos Island Airports Authority to grant permission for the development of a second Fixed Based Operation at the airport. Tom was called to the bar of the TCI and argued the case before the Chief Justice.
Acting for the General Medical Council in proceedings concerning the suspension of a doctor pending a criminal prosecution. The judgment was a significant development of the law on interim suspensions.
This was a judicial review of an ASA decision and that of the Independent Reviewer upholding the lawfulness of Tesco’s Price Promise scheme, on domestic and EU law grounds. Tom successfully defended the claim.
Tom successfully defended Manchester City Council from this challenge to the Council’s budget for allegedly failing to comply with procedural requirements including the public sector equality duty.
Acted for aircraft leasing company in this challenge to the detention of an aircraft at Glasgow airport under the Fleet Lien power.
Tom represents clients in particular in royalty, copyright, trade mark and passing off disputes and has acted in a number of trials and mediations in the media and entertainment sector.
In one of his first cases, Tom acted for the two authors of the original music to Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends in a claim to recover substantial historic royalties (Campbell v Hit Plc). He acted for Rive Droit Music in the well-known copyright dispute culminating in Crosstown v Rive Droit Music Ltd  Ch. 68 and for the former manager of the Bay City Rollers in another royalties dispute (Wainman v Arista Records). More recently, he has acted for the prog-Rock and classical musician Rick Wakeman in a claim to rescind a contract of copyright assignment (Wakeman v Imagem Songs & BMG) and for MC Harvey in a breach of privacy claim brought by Cheryl Cole (Cole v IPC Media & MC Harvey).
Tom has acted in several book and film matters and is currently acting in a copyright dispute over the authorship of a recent Hollywood film.
Tom has also acted for Paul McCartney's publishing company in a copyright dispute, Status Quo in a passing-off dispute, INXS in a publishing dispute, and Oxford University Press in a journal ownership dispute. Other clients include: Mark Morrison, Knife Party/Pendulum, Jamiroquai, Penguin books, Channel 4, MTV and Sony.
“analytical, responsive and commercial…with great people skills”Chambers UK, 2016
“He is very astute and hardworking with great legal forensic skills”Legal 500, 2016
“He is a down-to-earth barrister who instils confidence”Chambers UK, 2017
“He is bright, commercial, sharp and has an analytical mind.”Legal 500, 2017
Tom acted in a dispute over the rights to a Mini racing championship. The case was settled in 2016.
Tom is currently acting for Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey of UB40 in an ongoing dispute with the other founding members of UB40 over the right to use the name UB40. The claim raises passing off and partnership issues. A judgment on interim issues was handed down by the Chancery Division on 21 March 2016.
Tom is acting for the writer of the screenplay, Florence Foster Jenkins, in a copyright dispute over a claim of joint authorship.
Tom is acting for the celebrated progressive rock and classical musician Rick Wakeman in a dispute over the validity of contract for copyright assignment.
Tom acted for MC Harvey in a claim brought by Cheryl Cole in breach of privacy and defamation concerning an interview given by MC Harvey in 2011 in which he discussed a relationship with Cheryl Cole.
Tom acted for the publishing company Rive Droit Music Ltd which was involved in earlier stages of this high profile litigation.
Tom’s sports law practice complements his work in the media and entertainment field and he often acts in commercial contract matters and intellectual property rights disputes. He has acted for Liverpool FC in a shirt sponsorship dispute with Reebok in the Commercial Court (Liverpool FC v Reebok UK); for Chelsea FC in its appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport from the decision to ban the Club from signing players for two transfer windows (Chelsea v FIFA).
Tom acts as an independent reviewer of prosecutions for UK Anti-Doping.
“Frequently instructed on commercial and contractual disputes”Chambers UK, 2016
“He is very gifted and very clever, and he gets right to the point. He is personable, approachable and easy to speak to.”Chambers UK, 2016
“He gets good results and is both tactically and intellectually astute”Chambers UK, 2017
“A talented junior.”Chambers UK, 2018
Tom has recently been advising an overseas national cricket association in an extremely high value commercial dispute over broadcasting rights to show matches involving the national team in a third country territory.
In 2016, Tom has been advising a national broadcaster on a contractual dispute concerning rights to a major football tournament.
Tom is acting for Renault Formula 1 Team in a sponsorship dispute over the use of the YotaPhone brand. The claim is proceeding in the commercial court.
Tom is acting for Chelsea FC in this claim by Adrian Mutu in the European Court of Human Rights. It will be the first time the Strasbourg Court has considered the CAS system and its compliance with human rights standards.
Tom represented Chelsea Football Club in its appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport from the decision to ban the Club from signing players for two transfer windows. The ban was lifted. Tom was junior Counsel to David Pannick QC and Adam Lewis QC. He has subsequently advised Chelsea FC on associated matters.
Tom regularly acts in cases in which EU law issues arise as well as in cases directly concerning EU law matters. He regularly advises the Government (as a member of the Attorney General’s Panel) and public and private bodies on the requirements of EU law and the interpretation of regulations and directives. See in particular Tom’s work in the energy sector listed separately here. Tom recently appeared before the Grand Chamber of the CJEU in the major joined cases, Tele2 and Watson (April 2016) concernining data protection and data retention.
In 2014 Tom acted for a global oil company in a challenge to both the implementation of a Directive by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Governing EU measure (details confidential). The case settled before trial. In 2015, Tom acted for the Advertising Standards Authority in a case concerning the average consumer test under the consumer protection Directives (R (Sainsburys) v ASA).
In relation to sanctions, Tom acted in various stages of Bredenkamp v FCO, a challenge to EU Zimbabwe sanctions. He has advised extensively on Al Qaeda, Syria and Ukraine sanctions and acted in other sanctions cases.
Representing the Law Society in this very high profile case on the scope of the Data Protection and ePrivacy Directives and their application to Member States’ data retention regimes. The case was heard by a Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice on 12 May 2016, Tom appeared for the Law Society.
Tom is acting for the claimant in a challenge to the regime for removal of passports, based on Directive 2004/38/EC (free movement). A preliminary judgment established the applicability of EU law to the removal of passports.
Tom acts for a global multi-level marketing company concerning the scope of Directive 2005/29/EC and the prohibition on pyramid selling schemes.
Represented the ASA against Sainsbury’s Supermarkets (Tesco Intervening) in this claim concerning the interpretation of Directives 2005/29/EC and 2006/114/EC (consumer protection and advertising).
Acted for a multinational company in this challenge (which ultimately settled before a reference was made to the CJEU) to the interpretation and vires of an EU Directive.
Tom has provided extensive advice to various individuals and organizations on EU sanctions issues, including those relating to Iran and Russia/Ukraine.
Acted in various stages of this challenge to EU Zimbabwe sanctions including in relation to a damages claim.
Tom has advised as sole and junior counsel on a wide range of procurement and related cases. He advised the Department for Work and Pensions in a major dispute concerning the procurement of funding arrangements. He also acted for Leyton Orient FC in Leyton Orient FC v London Legacy Development Corporation, a challenge to the re-tender process for the rights to use the Olympic Stadium. He regularly advises on the procurement and related obligations imposed in the energy field under EU law and domestic implementing regulations.
Tom represented a multi-national casino operating company in Great Eastern Quays Casino Ltd & Ors v Newham London Borough Council, concerning a super-Casino licence dispute and a consortium of banks in advice on the Eurotunnel Concession Agreement.
Tom has acted in a number of oil and gas matters, including in relation to procurement, sanctions, ‘contracts for difference’ and licensing.
For example, Tom has advised Scottish Hydro Electric and others in the energy sector on various procurement and licensing related matters, including in relation to offshore energy generation.
He was instructed by Oil and Gas UK on “contracts for difference” applicable to continental shelf activities which represented a major policy change in the North Sea energy sector.
He has been instructed by IPIECA (Global Oil and Gas Industry Association) on Iran and Russia sanctions-related issues.
He provided advice to major extraction company on seismic data disclosure requirements under petroleum production licences. Instructed by multi-national oil company transparency provisions of the 2013 Transparency Directive and Accounting Directives applicable to extraction companies.
Tom recently acted for a major interconnector company on Interconnector contract arrangements.
Tom’s practice encompasses the full spectrum of human rights cases, ranging from class actions against governments and multinational companies, to trafficking cases, to terrorism trials in civil actions. He is co-author of leading texts on human rights (Beatson, Grosz, Hickman, Singh, Human Rights: Judicial Protection in the UK (Sweet & Mazwell 2008) and Hickman, Public Law After the Human Rights Act (Hart 2010)) and regularly publishes blogs and articles on the topic.
Tom represented a number of victims of extraordinary rendition and torture, all former detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, in damages claims against the Intelligence Services and other Government agencies for complicity with US authorities (Al-Rawi & Ors v Security Service & ors (2008 - 10). The case was unique in scale and involved numerous complex hearings relating to document retention, disclosure and PII (including Al-Rawi  EWHC 2959 (QB)). He represented the claimants from the inception of the claims to their conclusion by mediation in Autumn 2010. The case was the subject of a statement to Parliament by the Prime Minister (Hansard, HC 6/07/10 col. 175) and subsequently by the Lord Chancellor (Hansard, HC 16/11/10 col.752).
In Guerrero & 30 Ors, v Monterrico Metals Plc  EWHC 3228 (QB) Tom represented thirty-one Peruvian campesinos who claimed to have been unlawfully detained and seriously abused during a protest against one of the world’s largest mining concessions in Peru owned by a UK multinational. Tom represented the claimants over two years and in a number of pre-trial hearings (including one reported judgment on amendments to particulars of claim). The claim, brought under Peruvian law, was settled in 2011.
He has acted in leading cases in Strasbourg, such as Hassan v United Kingdom (Grand Chamber), and in Luxembourg (Davis & Watson v SSHD).
Tom has a particular expertise in the area of national security law. He has acted in numerous leading cases in the context of terrorism and torture, including Binyam Mohamed in Binyam Mohamed v SSFCA  EWCA Civ 65 & 158,  QB 218, AF in AF (No 3) v SSHD  UKHL 28,  2 AC 269 and Mr Al-Jedda in Al-Jedda v Home Secretary  UKSC 62,  AC 253. He has extensive experience in asset freezing, TPIM and control order proceedings involved closed material procedure. Tom teaches a course on National Security Law at UCL and has given evidence to Parliamentary committees in relation to the Justice and Security Bill and the Investigatory Powers Bill.
“a great, courageous advocate”Chambers UK, 2016
“Combines tenacity and great expertise; he is a formidable junior”Chambers UK, 2017
“The standout junior at the civil liberties and human rights Bar.”Chambers UK, 2018
“He is hugely impressive.”Chambers UK, 2018
“An innovative, strategic thinker and a robust advocate.”Legal 500, 2017
The High Court declared that the Home Secretary’s decision not to allow entry to the UK for six refugees, and their 19 children, stranded on an MoD base in Cyprus since 1998 in the Sovereign Base Area, was unlawful.
Three of the UK’s leading privacy groups (Big Brother Watch, Open Rights Group, and English PEN) and a prominent German internet campaigner (Constanze Kurz) have filed an application at the European Court of Human Rights challenging the UK’s legislation governing the surveillance of communications and the implications of the Edward Snowdon disclosures about the use of TEMPORA and PRISM data.
The Court of Appeal held that the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013 is incompatible with Article 6(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights, in that it had interfered with ongoing legal proceedings challenging benefits sanctions by retrospectively validating those sanctions. The Court of Appeal and Supreme Court had previously ruled that regulations introducing several ‘back to work’ schemes had been ultra vires the Jobseeker's Act 1995 (claims in which Tom also acted for the Claimants).
The Court of Appeal in Gedi held that the Secretary of State has no power to impose a curfew on immigration detainees. The case, in which Tom acted for the Claimant, has led to a change of Government policy and has major implications across immigration law.
Tom acted for the applicant in what is now the leading case on the extraterritoriality of the European Convention on Human Rights, its application to armed conflict and the relationship between the Convention and IHL.
Tom acts for CF in these proceedings concerning the abuse of process in proceedings under the Terrorism Prevention and Investigations Act 2011 and the scope of the minimum disclosure requirement.
Tom acted for Mr Al Jedda in this case in which the Supreme Court upheld an order quashing the deprivation of his British citizenship.
Tom acted for the claimant in this application for disclosure of documents to support his criminal defence in criminal proceedings against him in Uganda for alleged involvement in the 2010 bombings in Kampala.
Tom represented Binyam Mohamed in the Court of Appeal where Mr Mohamed successfully obtained disclosure of information relating to his mistreatment and torture over which public interest immunity was claimed on national security grounds.
Tom represented AF in the leading case on control orders and Article 6 of the ECHR which led to the quashing of the control order imposed on AF. The case has given rise to other important judgments on the control order regime in which Tom acted.
Tom has extensive experience of diplomatic and state immunity issues, in which he has appeared in many leading cases, as well as in international law matters concerning torture, trafficking and human rights. He has also advised several governments on the interpretation of international agreements and he is currently litigating Bashir v Secretary of State for the Home Department, concerning treaty interpretation and the effect of colonial clauses.
Tom has acted in almost all of the important recent cases on State and diplomatic immunity (Harb, FF, Estrada Juffali, Al-Attiyah, Al-Malki, Freedom and Justice Party).
Tom acted for the Government of Cyprus in the inter-state case of Cyprus v Turkey (2014) 59 EHRR 16 concerning the supervision and enforcement provisions of the ECHR in which the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR made its most significant award: requiring the Turkish Government pay the Cypriot Government enormous compensation for the damage suffered by the enclaved residents of the Karpas peninsula arising out of the military activities northern Cyprus in 1974 and territorial division of the country. The case was described by two of the Judges "as the most important contribution to peace in Europe in the history of the Court of Human Rights".
Tom acted for the applicant in Hassan v United Kingdom (Grand Chamber) the leading case globally on the relationship between International Humanitarian law and human rights treaties.
Tom acted for Ms Estrada in successfully resisting a diplomatic immunity claim by the Defendant who had been appointed permanent representative of the IMO in London. Tom also acted for the claimant in the case of Al Attiya v Hamad Bin-Jassim Bin-Jaber Al Thani  EWHC 212 (QB) which raised similar issues.
Tom is acting for the Claimant disputing that Special Mission Status confers immunity as a matter of customary international law or domestic English law.
Tom acted for the Claimant in this claim concerning the scope of Head of State immunity of the former King of Saudi Arabia.
Tom represented the claimant in a claim against the former Prime Minister of Qatar in which the former Prime Minister claimed immunity based on his appointment to a diplomatic post in London.
Acting for the Claimant, the court made a declaration that Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa is not entitled to immunity from suit in the UK.
In a landmark ruling, the Grand Chamber required the Turkish Government to pay the Cypriot Government EUR 30,000,000 for non-pecuniary damages for surviving relatives of missing persons and EUR 60,000,000 for the damage suffered by the enclaved residents of the Karpas peninsula arising out of the military activities northern Cyprus in 1974 and territorial division of the country.
Tom acts both for and against professional bodies in professional disciplinary matters, including in judicial review proceedings arising from disciplinary proceedings. He defended a chartered accountant in the long running case of Institute of Chartered Accountants v Kingdom. He has acted in several financial services cases, including a LIBOR fixing case.
Tom is also regularly instructed by the General Medical Council and General Dental Council, including in the recent case of Bawa-Garba v GMC  EWHC 1277 (QB).
MA (Cambridge), First Class; LLM Hons (Toronto); PhD (Cambridge)
Tom was awarded The Sutherland Prize for Legal History by the American Society for Legal History in October 2016. The prize was awarded for his chapter on Entinck v Carrington published in a book of essays celebrating the 250th centenary of that case in 2015.
Tom was awarded the Cambridge University prizes for Contract law, for Equity and for Jurisprudence and the University of Toronto Prize for overall Outstanding Performance in the LLM. Tom has been awarded a number of other prizes and scholarships including a Fulbright Scholarship and a Faculty of Fellowship at the University of Toronto.
Tom's book, Public Law After the Human Rights Act (2010) was awarded the prestigious Inner Temple Book Prize (new author) for 2008-2011: “an astonishingly mature, thoughtful and original discussion” (Baroness Hale); “always thoughtful and thought-provoking” (Lord Collins); "an admirable piece of work" (Sir Stephen Sedley).
Tom is also co-author of Human Rights: Judicial Protection in the United Kingdom (Sweet & Maxwell 2008).
(Selection only. For a full list, please visit Tom’s UCL Law Faculty webpage)
Blog posts, case notes and short pieces
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