Tom Hickman KC practises in public and constitutional law, regulatory law, energy, telecommunications, commercial law, national security, international law (including diplomatic and state immunity issues), media and entertainment and sports law. Tom is highly regarded for both his advocacy and his advisory work and is regularly instructed for appellate proceedings in the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and Privy Council. 

Comments in the legal directories include: "unflappable advocate on his feet, even in situations when others might crumble." (Chambers UK, 2023); "A great tactician with a firm eye on the commercial dynamics." (Chambers UK, 2022); "very clear on what is needed to establish the best possible case... thinks very strategically..." (Legal 500).

Tom was named Public Law Silk of the Year at the Chambers and Partners Bar Awards 2020 and was previously included in the country's "Hot 100" lawyers. Since 2017 he has been standing Counsel to the Investigatory Powers Commissioner's Office (IPCO).

Tom regularly advises and conducts litigation on behalf of Governments and public authorities, including regulatory bodies. Prior to taking silk, Tom was on the "A Panel" of Government Counsel and he continues to advise and conduct litigation for the UK Government in silk, including recent work for the Treasury and the Ministry of Defence. Tom also advises and acts for other Governments (examples include the Scottish Government, the Republic of Cyprus, the Government of the Bahamas and various British Overseas Territories) as well as regulatory bodies such as the Competition and Market's Authority and the Advertising Standards Authority. 

Tom also acts for private clients both in challenges to acts of regulatory bodies and governments and in private commercial or sports disputes. He has experience of a wide range of courts and tribunals, including the Chancery Division, Commercial Court, arbitration and disciplinary tribunals. He has litigated many cases before the European Court of Human Rights and the CJEU and in British Overseas Territories. He has coordinated international litigation strategies and has experience of working with local lawyers on cases in countries as diverse as Norway, Cyprus, USA, Bahamas, Germany and Uganda. 

He has acted in many leading cases, including in both the Miller claims and the Lord Advocate's reference to the Supreme Court on the competence of the Scottish Parliament to hold an independence referendum. 

Other recent cases have included a major arbitration between the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) which determined the ban imposed on Russian participation in international sporting events (Tom acted for WADA). In 2021, Tom led a team that successfully challenged the housing of asylum-seekers at Napier military barracks. In 2022 he successfully acted for Reclaim These Streets in a challenge to the police decision to prevent a vigil on clapham common from being organised.

Tom is Professor of Public Law in the law faculty at University College London, ranked in the top 10 law faculties globally. He regularly publishes articles, blogs and tweets on legal issues. Tom's evidence to parliamentary committees has been referred to in a number of committee reports, such as the House of Lords Constitution Committee's June 2021 report on the use of emergency powers during Covid-19 pandemic and the June 2022 Privileges Committee report on Select Committee's powers. In January 2020, Tom was the first person to give oral evidence to the Bundesverfassungsgericht to give oral evidence on foreign law to that Court, in the landmark BND Act case  (his evidence was on interception of communication laws and oversight) (1 BvR 2835/17). 

A recent blog on the misuse of guidance in response to the Covid-19 pandemic is available here. A blog on the Judicial Review and Courts Act here.




Tom has considerable experience of commercial litigation including copyright and other IP disputes, often having a connection to media, sport or entertainment, gambling or other licensed or regulated activities; or in complex cases that have a public law, international law or human rights angle.

In 2018-2019, Tom acted in a long-running passing off claim in the pharmaceuticals sector (Glaxo v Sandoz)  which generated multiple judgments of the Chancery Division. For several years Tom acted in the leading trade marks case of Sky v SkyKick  including in a reference to the CJEU. 

In 2018-19 Tom acted for Nottingham Forest FC in a commercial dispute over the sale of the Club. The case went to the Court of Appeal. Tom is currently acting in a substantial commercial joint venture dispute between an international sports body and its commercial partner. 

Previous cases have included acting for Vladmir Antonov in a major asset freezing case and acting for HMRC in a dispute with Bernie Ecclestone concerning the decision of HMRC's tax settlement agreement with Mr Ecclestone.


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Public & Regulatory

Tom was awarded Chambers & Partners Public Law Silk of the Year in 2020. 

Tom regularly appears in the Administrative Court and appeal courts in the most difficult and high public law cases, including both Miller cases, in which he represented Gina Miller.

Tom is currently acting for the Competition and Markets Authority in two judicial review challenges to appellate decisions of the authority and recently acted for the Treasury and UK Statistics Authority in a high-profile judicial review of the forthcoming changes to the Retail Prices Index. 

Tom also acts for other Governments. He is acting for the Lord Advocate in the Lord Advocate's Reference to the Supreme Court concerning whether the Scottish Parliament has the power to hold a referendum on Scottish independence. Tom is also currently acting for the Government of the Cayman Islands and for the Attorney General of the BVI. 

Tom has huge experience in regulatory disputes and has acted in numerous regulatory disputes both for and against regulators such as Ofgem, Ofcom, the Advertising Standards Authority and the Gambling Commission.

Tom is author of a leading book on public law (Public Law After the Human Rights Act (Hart 2010)) and has written extensively on and blogs journals in the UK and abroad on public law. He teaches and examines public law at UCL.

Tom has been standing Counsel to the Investigatory Powers Commissioner since 2017. In 2020, Tom was the first person to give oral testimony to the Constitutional Court of Germany in a two day hearing before that Court, as an expert witness giving evidence on the subject of the regulation of external interception of communications and intelligence service oversight.


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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. 

Tom was awarded Human Rights and Public Law Silk of the Year at the Chambers and Partners UK Bar Awards 2020.

In 2021 Tom led a team that successfully challenged the housing of asylum-seekers at Napier Barracks. In 2022 he led a team that successfully challenged the police's refusal to permit a vigil on Clapham Common during the Covid pandemic and he also acted in a succesful challenge to a Home Office policy of seizing the mobile phones of asylum seekers and exploiting the data on the phones. 

Tom has acted in a number of applications to the ECtHR, such as Hassan v UK (Grand Chamber), Big Brother Watch v UK (Chamber), Topa v Molda and Cyprus v Turkey (remedies, Grand Chamber). The last of these cases required the Turkish Government to pay the largest ever just satisfaction award 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 litigation 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 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 for Binyam Mohamed in Binyam Mohamed v SSFCA [2010] EWCA Civ 65 & 158, [2010] QB 218, for AF in AF (No 3) v SSHD [2009] UKHL 28, [2010] 2 AC 269 in Al-Jedda v Home Secretary [2013] UKSC 62, [2014] AC 253 and Watson v Secretary of State (CA and CJEU). Tom has extensive experience in asset freezing, TPIM and control order proceedings and surveillance and interception matters.

Tom has also acted in a number of international human rights claims, e.g. 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 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.


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Media & Entertainment

Tom represents clients in particular in commercial disputes, royalty, copyright, trade mark and passing off disputes and has acted in a number of trials and mediations in the media and entertainment sector.  

Tom often advises broadcasters such as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 on copyright and contractual matters, including disputes with presenters, copyright issues and broadcasting rights. He has advised in numerous international commercial rights disputes where contracts are subject to English law.

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 a major royalties dispute (Wainman v Arista Records).

He later 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 acted for Ali Campbell, "Mickey" and "Astro", in a long-running band dispute over the name UB40 (Campbell v Campbell). 

Other clients have included: Paul McCartney's publishing company (copyright dispute), Status Quo (passing-off dispute), INXS (publishing dispute), Oxford University Press (journal ownership dispute), Sony (copyright), Mark Morrison (police harassment), Knife Party/Pendulum (copyright), Jamiroquai (royalties), Penguin books (various).


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EU Law

Tom has a varied experience of representing clients in disputes concerning EU law and acted in many cases involving EU law both before UK courts and the CJEU. As a member of the A Panel Tom frequently advised the UK Government on the application of EU laws. 

Since Brexit, Tom has acted and advised in a number of matters concerning the continuing effect of EU law and the application of the Withdrawal Agreement and Trade and Cooperation Agreements (eg in the context of state aids/subsidy control, extradition and asylum). 

Tom was counsel for Gina Miller in the case of R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, concerning Article 50 of the TEU. 

He represented the Law Society in the Grand Chamber of the CJEU in the Joined Cases Tele 2, and Watson v Secretary of State, concerning bulk communications data acquisition and the scope of the E-Privacy Directive. 

Tom acted for SkyKick in the CJEU in a long-running case concerning the bad faith defence under the EU Trade Mark Regulations (SkyKick v Sky).


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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.

Tom recently acted in one of the most significant anti-doping cases, WADA v RUSADA in which the CAS imposed a two year ban on Russian participation in major competitions, exercising its new jurisdiction under the WADA Code. 

In 2018-19, Tom acted in litigation in the High Court and Court of Appeal concerning the sale of Nottingham Forest FC, and in 2017 for Renault/Lotus F1 team in a substantial agency dispute.

In his very first case in the area, Tom acted for Liverpool FC in a shirt sponsorship dispute with Reebok in the Commercial Court. He has since acted for many Clubs, sports bodies and professional athletes.

Tom acted as an independent reviewer of prosecutions for UK Anti-Doping and is currently engaged in adisory work for WADA.


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Tom has advised as sole and junior counsel on a wide range of procurement and related cases. He was instructed for one of the interested parties in combined judicial review and procurement challenge to the award of the National Lottery licence in 2022. 

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.  

Tom also has related experience of subsidy and concession issues. For instance, he 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. He advised a consortium of banks in advice on the Eurotunnel Concession Agreement. Most recently, Tom has been instructed to act for the special administrators of Bulb in a connected judicial review and subsidy challenge to the sale of Bulb to Octopus energy. The case has been listed to be heard on an expedited basis in February 2022.



Tom has acted in a number of energy related disputes concerning oil, gas, solar, wind, and biogas, off-shore decommissioning issues and licensing. Examples include: 

  • Acting for the Special Administrators of Bulb in a legal challenge to the statutory business transfer to Octopus Energy.
  • Acting for the Competition and Market's Authority (CMA) in challenge to its determination of appeals from GEMA's RIIO-2 price control decision.
  • Acting for CMA in a challenge to GEMA's decision amending the Connection and Use of Systems Code.
  • Advised Scottish Hydro Electric and others in the energy sector on various procurement and licensing related matters, including in relation to offshore energy generation.
  • Instructed in a number of substantial disputes concerning Feed-in-Tariffs and solar installation audits.
  • 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.
  • Instructed by IPIECA (Global Oil and Gas Industry Association) on Iran and Russia sanctions-related issues.
  • Advised a major extraction company on seismic data disclosure requirements under petroleum production licences. 
  • Advised a multi-national oil company transparency provisions of the 2013 Transparency Directive and Accounting Directives applicable to extraction companies.


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Public International Law

Tom has a broad experience in litigating international law issues in domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights as well as in arbitral tribunals (such as the Court of Arbitration for Sport). 

Tom was counsel in R (Bashir) v Secretary of State for the Home Department in 2018 concerning treaty interpretation and the responsibility of the UK under international law for overseas territories. 

He was also Counsel in Miller v Minister for Exiting the European Union in 2017, which concerned the relationship between the prerogative, statute and international treaties. 

In Reyes v Al-Malki, Tom acted for the intervening party in a case concerning the scope of the commercial exception under the Diplomatic Privileges Act. 

Tom has acted in many of the diplomatic and state immunity cases of recent years, including Harb, FF, Estrada Juffali, Al-Attiyah, Freedom and Justice Party and  Basfar v Wong. The Freedom and Justice Party case is the leading authority on the incorporation of customary international law into the common law; Basfar v Wong broke new ground on the application of the commercial exception to diplomatic immunity. 

Tom also 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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Tom regularly acts for clients in the gambling sector on regulatory and licensing issues and has a detailed knowledge of the Gambling Act 2005 and the regulatory environment. His experience stretches back to his involvement early in his career in a judicial review of the award of a super-casino licence. Recent examples of work in the sector include: 

  • In 2021, Tom represented a major international casino operator in a judicial review of the fairness of a licence review process. The claim was granted permission, the Judge rejecting alternative remedy arguments, but settled before trial. 
  • In 2022 Tom was instructed by an interested party in the challenge to the award of the National Lottery licence. 
  • Tom has advised on several Gambling Commission consultations and proposed code of practice changes. 
  • Advisory work also includes various issues arising during licence reviews and investigations, such as legality of sanctions and fines imposed by the Commission
  • Other advisory work includes advising on legal issues concerning the validity of certain types of gaming contract and the availability of restitutionary claims .



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

Prizes & Scholarships

In 2016, Tom was awarded The Sutherland Prize for Legal History by the American Society for Legal History for the best published article on legal history in the previous year. The prize was awarded for his chapter on Entick v Carrington published in a book of essays celebrating the 250th centenary of that case in 2015. 

At University, Tom was awarded the Cambridge University prizes for Contract law, for Equity and for Jurisprudence and placed top in his year also in Legal History and Tort Law. He was awarded the University of Toronto Prize for overall Outstanding Performance in the LLM. Tom has been awarded a number of other prizes and scholarships including the Selwyn College Fairest Prize, Fulbright Scholarship, Faculty of Fellowship at the University of Toronto and fellowship at Massey College. 

Tom's book, Public Law After the Human Rights Act (2010) was awarded the 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). 

Bar Awards

Legal 500 Public Law Junior of the Year 2019 

Chambers and Partners, Public Law Junior of the Year in 2017

The Lawyer, Hot 100, 2017

Chambers and Partners, Public Law and Human Rights Silk of the Year 2020 



Public Law After the Human Rights Act (2010)  

Tom is also co-author of Human Rights: Judicial Protection in the United Kingdom (Sweet & Maxwell 2008). 

Law Journal Publications

(Selection only. For a fuller 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

  • 'The continuing misuse of guidance in response to the pandemic' LSE Covid-19 Blog, 25 January 2021
  • '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)


ALBA, COMBAR, LIBERTY and Amnesty International. 


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