Alastair has a litigation focussed practice both in the High Court (predominantly the Chancery Division and Commercial Court) and internationally, 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. Prior to being called to the Bar in 2004, Alastair ran a business consultancy which he had co-founded.
- International arbitration
Alastair has experience of significant arbitral proceedings under UNCITRAL, ICC and LCIA rules with UK and foreign seats. These include:
- Representing the Government of the Republic of Rwanda in a dispute concerning a gas extraction joint venture (ICC, Paris) (led by Richard Hill QC)
- Representing a major US corporate in a business sale dispute (UNCITRAL, Zurich) (led by Richard Hill QC)
- Representing a private equity business and its partners in a dispute with the estate of a former partner (LCIA, London) (led by Richard Hill QC)
- Representing a large exporter of fashion items in a dispute against a Middle-Eastern distributor (LCIA, London)
- 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.
Examples of recent instructions include: 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.
- Banking & finance
A significant part of Alastair’s practice concerns heavyweight banking and finance litigation, including disputes concerning derivatives, syndicated loans, debt instruments, and private equity.
Alastair has advised on and acts in relation to several claims arising out of the LIBOR scandal, including Deutsche Bank v Unitech where (led by John Brisby QC) 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 been involved (led by Jonathan Crow QC) in the litigation arising out of the Kaupthing hf insolvency, and (led by Richard Hill QC) in the Al Khorafi v Bank Sarasin Alpen (ME) Ltd proceedings heard in the Courts of the Dubai International Financial Centre.
- Company law
Alastair is regularly instructed to advise and conduct litigation 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 regularly gives lectures on company law issues.
- Chancery: commercial
A significant portion of Alastair’s work is in the Chancery Division, generally commercial disputes with a mix of chancery issues, and applications for interim relief.
- 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 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. Recent experience includes:
- 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 injunctive relief on behalf of a French company in relation to fraudulent payments made to accounts in the UK.
- 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. He regularly writes and lectures on financial services issues.
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 (led by Richard Hill QC) in ICC arbitration proceedings heard in Paris arising out of a failed gas extraction joint venture.
- 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.
- Cases of interest
Allfiled UK Ltd v Eltis  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  EWHC 3777 (Comm) (setting aside judgment on the basis of former solicitor’s fraud)
Deutsche Bank AG v Unitech Global Ltd  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  EWHC 3131 (Comm);  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  EWHC 2806 (Comm) (challenge to jurisdiction)
Deutsche Bank AG v Unitech Global Ltd  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  EWHC 2793 (Comm);  2 All E.R. (Comm) 268;  2 Lloyd’s Rep. 629;  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  EWHC 471 (Comm) (amendments in relation to representations based on LIBOR manipulation)
Fattal v Walbrook Trustees (Jersey) Ltd  EWHC 2767 (Ch);  Bus. L.R. D7 (amendment, limitation, pleas of dishonesty)
Frankice (Golders Green) Ltd (In Administration)  EWHC 1229 (Ch);  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  EWCA Civ 408;  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  EWCA Civ 1209;  2 All E.R. (Comm) 302;  1 Lloyd’s Rep. 357;  2 C.L.C. 866 (Court of Appeal) (contractual formation and battle of the forms)
Walbrook Trustees (Jersey) Ltd v Fattal  EWHC 1446 (Ch);  1 All E.R. (Comm) 526) (appointment of receiver and manager over trust interests / joint venture)
Walbrook Trustees (Jersey) Ltd v Fattal  EWCA Civ 297;  C.P. Rep. 1 (Court of Appeal) (Henderson v Henderson estoppel)
Gallaher International Ltd v Tlais Enterprises Ltd  EWHC 804 (Comm) (breach of contract in relation to international tobacco distribution agreement)
- What the directories and judges say
“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.”“: Chambers and Partners.
“Alastair Tomson is praised for his writing skills and for the fact that “he knows how to work in harmony with the client.””: Chambers and Partners.
“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  EWHC 804 (Comm)
- Foreign jurisdictions
Called to the bar of the DIFC, and to the bar of the Republic of Rwanda for specific proceedings.
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).
- 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.
Working knowledge of French; basic German and Bulgarian.