Thomas advises and conducts advocacy on a wide range of international and commercial disputes. Most notably, he acts as counsel in investment treaty disputes between states and foreign investors, including matters at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) and under other arbitration rules. Additionally, Thomas' public international law work has included acting for an inter-governmental organization in international court proceedings and advising governments on investment treaty negotiations. He also works on disputes before the English Courts.
Thomas is ranked as an Associate to Watch for Investor-State Arbitration in Chambers UK, which describes him as a "highly rated" and "dynamic young lawyer." In addition, he is described in The Legal 500 UK as a "highly regarded associate" for Public International Law.
- Barrister, England & Wales
- MRes, University of Reading, 2012, with Distinction, Masters of Research in Law
- LL.B., King's College London, 2011, Law with Transnational Legal Studies
Investment Treaty Arbitration – ICSID and ad hoc
- Acted as counsel to nine investors in a dispute with The Republic of Zimbabwe arising from breaches of a bilateral investment treaty, in Bernhard von Pezold & Ors v. The Republic of Zimbabwe. Our clients were awarded restitution and damages (alternatively $196 million in damages), plus their full legal costs and interest. During the annulment phase, we successfully resisted Zimbabwe's applications for a stay of enforcement, and for the award to be annulled. ICSID arbitration, Case No. ARB/10/15.
- Acted as counsel to investors in a dispute with The Republic of Zimbabwe arising from breaches of a bilateral investment treaty, in Border Timbers Ltd & Ors v. The Republic of Zimbabwe. Our clients were awarded restitution and damages (alternatively $125 million in damages), plus their full legal costs and interest. During the annulment phase, we successfully resisted Zimbabwe's applications for a stay of enforcement, and for the award to be annulled. ICSID arbitration, Case No. ARB/10/25.
- Acts as counsel to an Italian investor in a dispute with an East African state arising from alleged breaches of a bilateral investment treaty, in Sunlodges Ltd v. United Republic of Tanzania. The claim is for over $30 million and is ongoing. UNCITRAL arbitration, PCA Case No. 2018-09.
- Acts as counsel to a UK investor in a dispute with a Balkan state arising from alleged breaches of a bilateral investment treaty. The claim is for over $100 million and is ongoing. UNCITRAL arbitration, PCA Case No. 2015-39.
- Acted for a Canadian investor in relation to a multibillion-dollar dispute with the United States under the NAFTA. This was part of a broad litigation strategy, which encompassed other Steptoe teams. The matter was resolved in our client’s favor.
Technical Assistance to States on Public International Law Matters
- Acted for the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (an inter-governmental organization) with respect to their submissions to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, in Case No. 21, Request for an advisory opinion submitted by the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission.
- Engaged by several states to advise on their investment treaty negotiations, including (most recently) negotiations with the European Union.
- Serves as a member of the Steptoe team appointed by the Government of the People’s Republic of China to the panel of law firms that will be instructed to defend it in investor-state disputes.
Commercial Arbitration and Court Litigation
- Acted for an African bank in a dispute with its former Chief Executive over the alleged breach of an arbitration agreement: ad hoc arbitration under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. Also acted on the bank’s related application for an anti-enforcement injunction in respect of the alleged breaches: High Court and Court of Appeal in England.
- Acts as counsel to investors on the enforcement of various ICSID awards in England.
- "The Role of Investor-State Arbitral Tribunals in the Development of Terms of Art also Existing in Customary International Law," McCoubrey Centre for International Law's "Making International Custom More Tangible" Conference, Hull, UK, July 3, 2015
- "The Adoption of Terms of Art in Bilateral Investment Treaties and its Consequences," ASIL Conference, Denver, CO, November 14, 2014
- "Curing Textual Indeterminacy in International Investment Treaties," International Institute for Academic Development Conference, Batumi, Georgia, August 23, 2014
News & Publications
December 4, 2018
November 26, 2018
November 6, 2018
November 2, 2018
September 15, 2017
August 29, 2017
July 15, 2016
March 4, 2016
February 17, 2016
Investor-State Arbitration Series
September 23, 2014
- Chambers UK, International Arbitration: Investor-State Arbitration (2019)
- Legal 500 UK, Public International Law (2018)
- Lord Denning Scholarship, Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn
- Hardwicke Entrance Award, Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn
- Richard R Baxter and Hardy C Dillard Memorial Awards (Jessup Moot 2009, KCL team)
- The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn
- Denning Society
- LCIA Young International Arbitration Group
- Young ICSID
- Young Public International Law Group
- Young ITA