Tom Hickman is recognised as a leading barrister across a range of practice areas spanning Commercial, Media, Entertainment and Sport, EU law, Public Law and Regulatory Law, Procurement, Civil Liberties and Human Rights, Energy and Public International Law. He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2019. 

Tom was named in the country's "Hot 100" lawyers by The Lawyer magazine in 2017. 

As a junior barrister Tom was ranked by the Chambers and Partners guide in five practice areas and as the “Star Practitioner” in two. Tom was awarded Public Law Junior of the Year in 2019 by the Legal 500 and Public Law and Human Rights Junior of the Year in 2017 by Chambers and Partners. 

Since 2017 Tom has been standing counsel to the Investigatory Powers Commissioner's Office (IPCO) which regulates the use of surveillance powers by law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the UK. 

Tom has litigated 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, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, 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 was formerly a members of the Attorney General's A Panel, carrying out both public law and commercial work for the Government until he took silk. 

Tom is also a Reader in Law and member of the Law Faculty at University College London and regularly publishes, blogs and tweets on legal issues. He has given evidence to Parliamentary committees on several occasions on matters concerning national security law. 

In 2016-7, Tom was at the center of R (Miller) v Minister for Brexit, as junior Counsel for Gina Miller and having co-authored the blog post Pulling the Article 50 'Trigger': Parliament's Indispensable Role, which first advanced the argument that an Act of Parliament is necessary to trigger Article 50. 




Tom acts in commercial matters ranging from commercial fraud to intellectual property cases, particularly copyright and passing off claims. He has considerable experience in obtaining freezing injunctions, Norwich Pharmacal injunctions and other commercial remedies.

Tom is currently acting in Glaxo Welcome UK Ltd & Anor v Sandoz Ltd & Ors, a multi-jurisdictional pharmaceutical passing off / trade mark claim and Sky plc v SkyKick UK Ltd, a trade mark case currently the subject of a reference to the CJEU on the bad faith defence. 

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) [2012] 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 [2013] 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.


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Public & Regulatory

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.


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Media & Entertainment

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 [2012] 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. 


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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.


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EU & Competition

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.


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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.


Civil Liberties & Human Rights

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 [2009] 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 [2010] 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 [2010] EWCA Civ 65 & 158, [2010] QB 218, AF in AF (No 3) v SSHD [2009] UKHL 28, [2010] 2 AC 269 and Mr Al-Jedda in Al-Jedda v Home Secretary [2013] UKSC 62, [2014] 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. 


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Public International Law

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.


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Professional Discipline

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 [2015] EWHC 1277 (QB). 



MA (Cambridge), First Class; LLM Hons (Toronto); PhD (Cambridge)

Prizes & Scholarships

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). 

Law Journal Publications

(Selection only. For a full list, please visit Tom’s UCL Law Faculty webpage)

  • ‘Too Hot, Too Cold or Just Right? The development of the Public Sector Equality Duties in Administrative Law‘ [2013] Public Law 325 
  • ‘Beano no more: The EU Charter of Rights after Lisbon’ [2011] Judicial Review 113 (with K. Beal)
  • ‘Problems for Proportionality’ [2011] New Zealand Law Journal 303

Other Publications (selection only)

Blog posts, case notes and short pieces

  • 'Pulling the Article 50 ‘Trigger’: Parliament’s Indispensable Role' (with N. Barber and J. King) UK Constitutional Law Blog (27th Jun 2016)
  • “The Investigatory Powers Bill: What’s Hot and What’s Not?” UK Constitutional Law Blog (11 Dec 2015)
  • “Success in Judicial Review: The Current Position” (with M. Sunkin) UK Constitutional Law Blog (20 Mar 2015)
  • “ISIS, Passports and Magna Carta: New National Security Powers raise complex issues” UK Constitutional Law Blog (9 Oct 2014)
  • ‘Further Concerns About the DRIP Bill’ UK Constitutional Law Blog (16 July 2014)
  • ‘Plugging Gaps in Surveillance Laws or Authorising the Unlawful?’ UK Constitutional Law Blog (14 July 2014)
  • ‘Loading the Dice in Judicial Review: the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill 2014’ (with Ben Jaffey) UK Constitutional Law Blog (6 Feb 2014)


Tom is on the Committee of the Administrative and Constitutional Law Bar Association (ALBA). He is a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA), the Bar European Group and the Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR). Tom is also a member of LIBERTY, JUSTICE and Amnesty International. He is a sometime Fellow of the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law.


VAT registration number: 863564107