Tom Hickman QC is recognised as a leading barrister in public and constitutional law, international law, regulatory law, commercial law, media entertainment and sports law. 

Tom was awarded Public Law and Human Rights Silk of the Year at the Chambers and Partners UK Bar Awards 2020 and was named in the country's "Hot 100" lawyers by The Lawyer magazine in 2017. Prior to taking silk, Tom was ranked by Chambers and Partners in five practice areas, in two as the "Star Practitioner". 

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. 

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 for Gina Miller in both the Miller claims. He has appeared in the Supreme Court over a dozen times. 

Recent cases have included claims by British Airways plc and by Manchester Airports Group to Covid-19 laws and 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 fro WADA). In 2021, Tom also led a team that successfully challenged the housing of asylum-seekers at Napier military barracks.

Tom is also 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. In this capacity, he advises the Commissioner on legal issues and represents the Commissioner in legal proceedings as well as participating in international and national discussions on surveillance oversight.

Tom is Professor of Public Law at University College London and 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. In January 2020, Tom was the first person in the history of 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.




Tom has considerable experience of commercial litigation including copyright and other IP disputes, often having a connection to media, sport or entertainment 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 plc v SkyKick UK Ltd, including in a reference to the CJEU. 

In 2018-19 Tom acted for Nottingham Forest FC in a dispute over the sale of the Club. The case went to the Court of Appeal..  

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. Prior to taking silk Tom was a “Star Individual” in Administrative & Public Law and was public law junior of the year in 2017 (Chambers & Partners) and 2019 (Legal 500). 

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 has acted in and advised clients in a number of disputes concerning Covid-19 laws, e.g.:

  • Advised businesses and individuals on the application of Covid rules. 
  • Represented British Airways, Easyjet and Ryanair in a challenge to the 14 day quarantine in 2020. 
  • Represented Manchester and Stanstead Airports in challenge to the traffic light rules in 2021. 
  • Acted in a challenge to the refusal to publish the Cygnus report. 
  • Represented Reclaim These Streets in a challenge to the police refusal of a vigil on clapham common.
  • Assisted individuals in obtaining  exemptions from travel restrictions.

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

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 and co-ordinated multi-jurisdictional EU/ECHR litigation concerned with alleged pyramid selling in Cyprus, Norway and the UK. He is currently instructed by the Government of the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas. 

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 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 . 

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 & Competition

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 recently acted for SkyKick in the CJEU in a 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/Loutus 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.


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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.  

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 energy related disputes concerning oil, gas, solar, wind, and biogas, off-shore decommissioning issues and licensing.

For example, Tom advised Scottish Hydro Electric and others in the energy sector on various procurement and licensing related matters, including in relation to offshore energy generation.

In 2019-present, Tom has been involved in ongoing substantial disputes concerning Feed-in-Tariffs and commercial disputes in the solar sector.

Tom 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.

Tom provided advice to a 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.


Public International Law

Tom has a broad experience in litigating international law issues in domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights. 

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. 

Indeed, Tom has acted in most of the diplomatic and head of state immunity cases of recent years: Harb, FF, Estrada Juffali, Al-Attiyah, Freedom and Justice Party. The Freedom and Justice Party case is the leading authority on the incorporation of customary international law into the common law. 

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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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 Hamson 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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