Alastair Tomson

Alastair Tomson

Call 2004


Alastair has a commercial disputes focussed practice encompassing High Court litigation (predominantly the Business and Property Court and Commercial Court) and international arbitration (ICSID, ICC, UNCITRAL, LCIA), with particular expertise in banking and finance, financial services, energy and natural resources, company disputes and insolvency.

Much of Alastair’s practice has an international flavour, and he is therefore experienced in dealing with issues of foreign law and working with foreign clients, lawyers and experts.

He is ranked by legal directories as a leading junior barrister in Banking & Finance, Financial Services Regulation, Company, Insolvency, Commercial Dispute Resolution, Commercial Chancery and Middle East (Commercial).

Areas of expertise

  • Arbitration

    Alastair is a seasoned arbitration practitioner, and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He has experience of significant arbitral proceedings under ICSID, UNCITRAL, ICC and LCIA rules with UK and foreign seats, disputes board proceedings and expert determinations (both led and as sole counsel). These include representing:

    • the Government of Rwanda in ICSID proceedings concerning alleged breaches of the Rwanda-USA bilateral investment treaty: Bay View Group LLC and The Spalena Company LLC v. Republic of Rwanda, ICSID Case No. ARB/18/21.
    • a major property owner against an international hotel chain in a dispute concerning breaches of a hotel management agreement (ICC, London) (led by Anneliese Day KC)
    • several offshore entities in the oil sector in a complex multi-jurisdictional company law dispute (LCIA, New York)
    • an Indian pharmaceutical manufacturing company in proceedings brought by a Canadian pharmaceutical importer (LCIA, London).
    • a foreign government in contractual disputes board proceedings in relation to allegations of fraud and bribery concerning a large international infrastructure project (Dubai / Paris).
    • a Philippines-based crypto-currency payments service provider in Malta Arbitration Centre proceedings against a Bitcoin trading platform and storage provider (UNCITRAL, Valletta).
    • a foreign government in expert determination proceedings concerning changes to the design of a gas extraction platform (London).
    • a foreign government in relation to compensation for delays in a gas to power project (UNCITRAL, Paris).
    • the Government of the Republic of Rwanda in a dispute concerning a gas extraction joint venture (ICC, Paris) (led by Richard Hill KC)
    • a major US corporate in a business sale dispute (UNCITRAL, Zurich) (led by Richard Hill KC)
    • a private equity business and its partners in a dispute with the estate of a former partner (LCIA, London) (led by Richard Hill KC)
    • a large exporter of fashion items in a dispute against a Middle-Eastern distributor (LCIA, London)
  • Banking & Finance

    A significant part of Alastair’s practice concerns heavyweight international banking and finance litigation and arbitration, including disputes concerning derivatives, syndicated loans, debt instruments, and private equity.

    Alastair appeared (both led and as sole counsel) in the Al Khorafi v Bank Sarasin Alpen (ME) Ltd proceedings, the most valuable claims brought before the Courts of the Dubai International Financial Centre.

    Alastair advised on and acted in relation to several claims arising out of the LIBOR and EURIBOR manipulation scandals, including the two of the leading reported cases: Marme Inversiones (led by Pushpinder Saini QC (now the Honourable Mr Justice Saini)); and Deutsche Bank v Unitech where (led by John Brisby KC) he successfully represented Unitech in the Court of Appeal in relation to fraudulent misrepresentation claims arising out of LIBOR, and assignment / novation of interests in syndicated loan arrangements.

    He has also advised and acted on disputes arising out of NPL securitisations in the Greek banking sector.

  • Company Law

    Alastair is regularly instructed to advise and conduct litigation and arbitration in company law matters, including unfair prejudice claims under section 994 of the Companies Act 2006. He is a contributor to the OUP’s Annotated Companies Acts, contributes to Practical Law and gives lectures on company law issues.

  • Insolvency & Restructuring

    Alastair is experienced in giving advice and conducting litigation on corporate and personal insolvency matters, and has been involved in some of the most significant insolvency proceedings of recent times including Re Maud (representing an opposing creditor on one of the most valuable bankruptcy petitions ever before the English courts), Kaupthing hf, Nortel, and Kuwait Oil Tanker Company SAK v Al Bader.

  • Fraud: Civil

    Alastair has been instructed in a range of civil fraud cases (in addition to the fraudulent representation cases in relation to LIBOR referred to above), and he is experienced in obtaining ex parte injunctive relief including freezing orders. Experience includes:

    • obtaining freezing orders and proprietary orders based on purpose trusts in relation to a fraud perpetrated on a lender.
    • successfully obtaining injunctive relief to prevent former employees operating a competitor business with the claimant’s intellectual property.
    • acting in proceedings brought by a firm of solicitors against a former partner who had diverted client account monies.
    • acting in proceedings brought against and in relation to a former solicitor who purported to conduct litigation for a non-UK resident client for over 3 years, when in fact no such litigation was conducted at all.

    obtaining urgent injunctive relief (freezing and third-party disclosure orders) on behalf of a French company in relation to fraudulent payments made to accounts in the UK.

  • Chancery: Commercial

    A significant portion of Alastair’s work is in the Business and Property Court, generally commercial disputes with a mix of chancery issues, and applications for interim relief.

  • Financial Services

    Alastair has acted and advised on a large number of financial services disputes, including misselling and other regulatory disputes under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

  • Commercial Dispute Resolution

    Alastair is regularly instructed on general commercial and contractual disputes in addition to the experience listed in relation to specific other categories.

    • representing claimants in several proceedings against an international law firm seeking damages in relation to their alleged abduction, torture and wrongful imprisonment in the Middle East. See e.g. Al Sadeq v Dechert & others [2021] EWHC 1149 (QB)
    • representing claimants in proceedings arising from alleged hacking of their privileged, private and confidential information. See e.g. Mikadze & another v Dechert & others [2023] EWHC 2165 (KB)
    • acting for a company in proceedings against a UK university in relation to a contract for the recruitment of international students and allegations of immigration violations;
    • acting for exporters of fashion goods against former Middle-Eastern distributors;
    • acting for a company against former directors and employees who set up a competing business in breach of their fiduciary and contractual obligations;
    • acting for a landlord to obtain injunctive relief against former commercial tenants
  • Trusts

    Alastair’s instructions regularly involve issues related to the law of trusts. He was instructed in the long-running Walbrook Trustees v Fattal litigation involving numerous hearings, two of which were in the Court of Appeal.

  • Energy & Natural Resources

    Since 2011 Alastair has been representing the Government of the Republic of Rwanda in multiple proceedings in relation to gas extraction projects in Rwanda, and recently in ICSID investor-state arbitation proceedings in relation to mining concessions in the country.

  • POCA Work & Asset Forfeiture

    Alastair has represented and advised the Serious Organised Crime Agency (now the National Crime Agency) in relation to Proceeds of Crime Act forfeiture proceedings.

Other information

  • Cases of Interest
    • Mikadze & Anor v Dechert LLP & Ors [2023] EWHC 2165 (KB) (successful application for service out of the jurisdiction against US-based defendants)
    • Dansingani & Anor v Canara Bank [2021] EWCA Civ 714 (successfully represented respondents on appeal against judgment entered in relation to a banking dispute)
    • Al Sadeq v Dechert LLP & Ors [2021] EWHC 1149 (QB) (case management including joint trial directions)
    • Bay View Group LLC and The Spalena Company LLC v. Republic of Rwanda, ICSID Case No. ARB/18/21 (ongoing ICSID arbitration proceedings under the Rwanda – USA BIT concerning alleged breaches of the FET standard and expropriation in relation to mining concessions)
    • Michel v Michel [2019] EWHC 1378 (Ch) (unfair prejudice proceedings in relation to a family business)
    • Marme Inversiones 2007 SL v Natwest Markets Plc [2019] EWHC 366 (Comm) (EURIBOR manipulation, trial judgment)
    • Re Maud [2019] Ch. 15 (bankruptcy petition, abuse of process, joint petitioners)
    • Marme Inversiones 2007 SL v Royal Bank of Scotland Plc [2016] EWHC 1570 (Comm) (stay of proceedings, jurisdiction)
    • Aabar Block Sarl v Maud [2016] EWHC 1016 (Ch) (Bankruptcy, abuse of process, opposing creditors)
    • Deutsche Bank AG v Unitech Global Ltd [2016] EWCA Civ 119 (Court of Appeal) (LIBOR manipulation; Anti-competitive practices; Credit facilities; Defences; Foreign currencies; Illegality; Interest rates; Interest rate swaps; Interim payments; Misrepresentation; Payment into court)
    • Aabar Block Sarl v Maud [2015] EWHC 3681 (Ch) (Bankruptcy petition, adjournment)
    • Allfiled UK Ltd v Eltis [2015] EWHC 1300 (Ch) (injunctive relief arising from breach of fiduciary duty, breach of confidence and breach of intellectual property rights)
    • Islamic Investment Company of the Gulf (Bahamas) Ltd v Symphony Gems NV [2014] EWHC 3777 (Comm) (setting aside judgment on the basis of former solicitor’s fraud)
    • Deutsche Bank AG v Unitech Global Ltd [2014] EWHC 3117 (Comm) (payment into court where a successful rescission defence would lead to and order counter-restitution after trial)
    • Cruz City 1 Mauritius Holdings v Unitech Ltd [2014] EWHC 3131 (Comm); [2014] Bus. L.R. D25 (freezing orders / appointment of receivers over the assets of an Indian company and ancillary orders)
    • Aquavita International SA v Ashapura Minecham Ltd [2014] EWHC 2806 (Comm) (challenge to jurisdiction)
    • Deutsche Bank AG v Unitech Global Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 1372 (Court of Appeal) (misrepresentations in relation to LIBOR; effect of novation on rescission in the context of syndicated loan agreements)
    • Deutsche Bank AG v Unitech Global Ltd [2013] EWHC 2793 (Comm); [2014] 2 All E.R. (Comm) 268; [2013] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 629; [2014] U.K.C.L.R. 15 (permission to amend and summary judgment considering wide ranging issues including unenforceability of credit and swap agreements under Competition Act 1988 s.2 by reason of LIBOR manipulation; illegality; effect of no set-off clauses; enforceability of guarantees)
    • Deutsche Bank AG v Unitech Global Ltd [2013] EWHC 471 (Comm) (amendments in relation to representations based on LIBOR manipulation)
    • Fattal v Walbrook Trustees (Jersey) Ltd [2010] EWHC 2767 (Ch); [2012] Bus. L.R. D7 (amendment, limitation, pleas of dishonesty)
    • Frankice (Golders Green) Ltd (In Administration) [2010] EWHC 1229 (Ch); [2010] Bus. L.R. 1608; Times, June 14, 2010 (whether review of gambling operating licences was a “legal process” for the purposes of the insolvency moratorium)
    • Walbrook Trustees (Jersey) Ltd v Fattal [2010] EWCA Civ 408; [2011] 1 All E.R. (Comm) 647 (Court of Appeal) (court’s jurisdiction in respect of administration of trust; severing beneficiaries’ rights
    • Tekdata Interconnections Ltd v Amphenol Ltd [2009] EWCA Civ 1209; [2010] 2 All E.R. (Comm) 302; [2010] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 357; [2009] 2 C.L.C. 866 (Court of Appeal) (contractual formation and battle of the forms)
    • Walbrook Trustees (Jersey) Ltd v Fattal [2009] EWHC 1446 (Ch); [2010] 1 All E.R. (Comm) 526) (appointment of receiver and manager over trust interests / joint venture)
    • Walbrook Trustees (Jersey) Ltd v Fattal [2009] EWCA Civ 297; [2010] C.P. Rep. 1 (Court of Appeal) (Henderson v Henderson estoppel)
    • Gallaher International Ltd v Tlais Enterprises Ltd [2008] EWHC 804 (Comm) (breach of contract in relation to international tobacco distribution agreement)
  • Career & Appointments
    • Elected a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
  • Foreign Jurisdictions

    Called to the Bar of the Dubai International Financial Centre, and to the Bar of the Republic of Rwanda for specific proceedings.

  • Education & Awards
    • MA King’s College, Cambridge (Archaeology and Anthropology / Social and Political Sciences)
    • Postgraduate Diploma in Law, University of Birmingham.
    • BVC Inns of Court School of Law (Outstanding).
    • Awarded Lord Mansfield, Lord Haldane and Kennedy Scholarships and Buchanan Prize by Lincoln’s Inn
    • Blackstone Chambers Mooting Champion, Inns of Court School of Law.
    • Allen & Overy Camm Cup Mooting Champion and Lady Barber Prize for Mooting, University of Birmingham.
  • Publications
    • Contributor to ‘Annotated Companies Acts’ (2007, Oxford University Press, ed. Prof. John Birds), and ‘Annotated Companies Legislation’ (now in its third edition, 2013, OUP, ed. Prof. John Birds)
    • “No-assignment clauses and bank insolvency”, Corporate Rescue and Insolvency (CR&I) 2014, 7(6), 228-230 (co-authored with Andrew Rose).
    • Contributor to Practical Law Corporate.
  • Languages
    • Working knowledge of French
    • Basic German and Bulgarian
  • What the Directories Say

    Chambers and Partners

    Banking and Finance

    • “An excellent senior junior for banking and corporate disputes; he really knows his stuff.” 
    • “A promising junior making a name for himself by way of his busy commercial chancery practice, who has a particular focus on litigation in the banking sector. He has a well-rounded skill set and receives praise both for his advocacy style and his quality written work. Tomson is highly familiar with cases concerning manipulation of benchmark interest rates, having appeared in two of the leading cases concerning the subject.
    • “A very experienced senior junior, who’s very user-friendly and who pleads cases very well. He’s always looking to fight the case which is admirable.


    • “Alastair offers a fantastic combination of technical excellence, clinical drafting skills and persuasive and thorough advocacy.”
    • “Alastair is great in written advocacy and he is bright and personable.”
    • “Alastair is very practical, he is always accessible and he works really, really hard.”
    • “Offers fantastic value through his very applicable and practical solutions. He’s phenomenally bright, thoroughly user-friendly, and calm and composed throughout.”
    • “A very commercial and charismatic barrister who gives pragmatic advice.”
    • “A well-regarded junior who primarily practises in company disputes, but also has expertise in civil fraud, insolvency and other chancery matters. Strengths: “A rising star who can hold his own against silks.” “He’s extremely personable, calm under extreme pressure, and an articulate advocate.”
    • “Alastair Tomson is praised for his writing skills and for the fact that “he knows how to work in harmony with the client.””:
    • “He is commercial, reliable and approachable, and has excellent client-handling skills.”

    Chancery Commercial

    • “Has a great ability to read the clients and engage at their level in meetings and discussions. He helps us to get them to see the most sensible choices to be made.”
    • “He is phenomenally bright, diligent, practical in his advice and thoroughly user-friendly.” 

    Commercial Dispute Resolution

    • “Alastair Tomson is the driving force behind cases. He’s always calm and he has the strongest work ethic I have ever encountered.”
    • “Very knowledgeable and very professional.”
    • “Alastair’s drafting is incredibly precise, detailed and impressive.”
    • “A confident advocate, who’s a tough cross-examiner and someone who really commits to his client’s case.”
    • “Efficient and helpful, he produced highly strategic advice.”
    • “Gets to grips with matters very quickly and brings people on side very quickly. He really leaps in and gets on top of the work.” 

    Legal 500

    Banking and Finance

    • ‘”Great work ethic, likes to think outside the box and work towards creative solutions. A great team player.’
    • “An excellent junior, in court he can go toe to toe with QCs.’


    • ‘Alastair has a clinical drafting style that is naturally persuasive and inherently logical, and he keeps a very clear and calm head in even the most heavily fought litigation.’
    • ‘Very hard working, adept and intelligent

    Middle East (Commercial)

    • ‘Alastair is a really creative thinker and is excellent in bringing new ideas or an approach to a legal problem. He is excellent in dealing with clients and is also a forceful and persuasive advocate.


    • Mr Alastair Tomson had to shoulder the burden of continuing in his [leader’s] place, which he has done with marked ability”: Christopher Clarke J in Gallaher International Limited v Tlais Enterprises Limited [2008] EWHC 804 (Comm)

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