Brick Court Chambers

Charlotte Thomas

Charlotte Thomas

YEAR OF CALL: England and Wales: 2013; Ireland: 2018

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Charlotte is a versatile junior whose practice covers all aspects of commercial litigation and international arbitration together with competition, EU and public law. She has appeared in the Court of Appeal, High Court and County Court, both as part of a team in heavy hearings and as sole counsel. She has also appeared before the Court of Justice and the General Court, and has undertaken substantial arbitrations under each of the UNCITRAL, LCIA, CIArb and ICSID rules.

Significant current and recent instructions include:

  • Acting for the purchaser of a copper mine in Peru in a series of hard-fought claims under a tax indemnity, including a trial in the Commercial Court ([2018] EWHC 1658 (Comm)) and appeal to the Court of Appeal ([2019] EWCA Civ 972) and ongoing proceedings which have included a hearing under the new Disclosure Pilot and a stay application (led by Fionn Pilbrow QC)
  • Acting for Watchstone in its defence of the £637m fraud and breach of warranty claims brought against it by Slater & Gordon, a case which was widely reported in the legal press and which settled on the eve of trial in October 2019 (Commercial Court) (led by Tim Lord QC)
  • Acting in a long-running US$150m UNCITRAL arbitration concerning a joint venture for the operation of an oil plant (led by Mark Howard QC, Neil Calver QC and Stephen Midwinter QC)
  • Acting in follow-on collective action proceedings brought against banks concerning manipulation of the foreign exchange market arising from the European Commission’s decisions finding the existence of cartels in the FX market (led by Daniel Jowell QC and Gerard Rothschild)

Before commencing practice at the Bar, Charlotte spent a year as Judicial Assistant to Lord Clarke and Lord Sumption in the Supreme Court, during which she worked on a wide variety of cases across her current practice areas, covering topics such as penalty clauses, unjust enrichment, contractual damages, illegality, joint tortfeasorship, antisuit injunctions, human rights, data retention, and proportionality.

Before pupillage, she taught contract law at University College London and King’s College London, and worked as a stagiaire at Shearman & Sterling’s International Arbitration Group in Paris, where she worked on a substantial arbitration under the ICSID rules. She read law at Cambridge University, then completed the LLM at Harvard Law School and the BCL at Oxford University, where her studies focused in particular on private international law, contract law and restitution. She was the 2013 Eldon Law Scholar (awarded annually to the most promising Oxford graduate going to the Bar).

Charlotte is fluent in French and German, and has a working knowledge of Spanish. She is called to the Irish Bar and is a member of the Irish Law Library.

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  • Commercial M

    Charlotte accepts instructions in all areas of Chambers’ commercial work, and across a range of industry sectors. She has experience of heavy commercial litigation and arbitration in which she works as part of a team, as well as of appearing as sole counsel in the Commercial Court. She is particularly comfortable with difficult questions of private international law, contract damages and unjust enrichment, owing to her academic background in these subjects. Her experience covers, in particular, banking & finance, civil fraud, energy & natural resources, information technology, insurance, and auditors’ negligence.

    Current and recent instructions include:

    • Acting for the purchaser of a copper mine in Peru in a series of hard-fought claims under a tax indemnity, including a trial in the Commercial Court ([2018] EWHC 1658 (Comm)) and appeal to the Court of Appeal ([2019] EWCA Civ 972) and ongoing proceedings which have included a hearing under the new Disclosure Pilot and a stay application (led by Fionn Pilbrow QC)
    • Acting for Watchstone in its defence of the £637m fraud and breach of warranty claims brought against it by Slater & Gordon, a case which was widely reported in the legal press and which settled on the eve of trial in October 2019 (Commercial Court) (led by Tim Lord QC)
    • Acting in a long-running US$150m UNCITRAL arbitration concerning a joint venture for the operation of an oil plant (led by Mark Howard QC, Neil Calver QC and Stephen Midwinter QC)
    • Acting in an arbitration under the CIArb rules concerning a claim for a funder introduction fee and claims of misrepresentation (led by Alec Haydon QC)
    • Acting as sole counsel in a £600k Commercial Court claim in relation to financial advice given to an energy infrastructure company
    • Appearing as sole counsel for a CMC hearing in a US$14.5m Commercial Court claim under an SPA defended by claims for misrepresentation and breach of warranty
    • Acting in an LCIA arbitration concerning breach of contracts for sale of biodiesel raising issues of remoteness, causation and mitigation of loss (led by Nicholas Saunders)
    • Acting in an injunction application in the Commercial Court concerning threatened release of confidential information (led by Simon Salzedo QC)
    • Acting in defence of contractual claim concerning direct debit billing in the telecoms sector (led by Michael Bools QC)

    Charlotte frequently advises and settles pleadings, led or as sole counsel, in relation to a range of commercial issues, including:

    • Advising an auditor on damages liability arising from allegedly negligent audit (raising issues of causation, remoteness and scope of duty) (led by Simon Salzedo QC)
    • Advising an auditor on professional discipline matter brought by the Financial Reporting Council (led by Simon Salzedo QC)
    • Advising a retail client in relation to termination rights under a software development contract
    • Advising an NHS trust in relation to its termination rights under a private finance initiative contract
    • Advising a likely fraud victim of prospects of success on a freezing injunction application
    • Advising in software licensing case concerning defence of iniquity to release of confidential information
    • Drafting defence to share purchase claim
    • Drafting contractual particulars of claim in a case with international and intellectual property elements
    • Advising on jurisdiction issues in claim concerning terms of access to a website (with Tony Singla)
    • Advising on unfair prejudice claim concerning lawfulness of shares transfer
    • Advising on merits of claim under the Montreal Convention
    • Advising on merits of contractual claim concerning minimum sales requirement
    • Advising on merits of claim for commission payment raising issues of contract, unjust enrichment, agency and conflict of laws

    Reported pro bono cases include:

    • Udondem v Wallace LLP [2018] EWHC 2297 (QB), a pro bono case concerning Henderson v Henderson abuse of process; Walker J commented on her “conspicuous care” and “persuasive oral submissions
    • Singh v Dass [2017] EWCA Civ 382, a successful PTA application undertaken pro bono for the RCJ Advice Bureau, concerning the Limitation Act 1980
    • Pine v Cinven Ltd [2016] EWCA Civ 1047, a PTA application undertaken pro bono for the RCJ Advice Bureau, appealing against EAT’s refusal to grant a stay; Underhill LJ commented on her “clear and helpful” skeleton argument and “clear and focused” submissions
  • Competition M

    Charlotte has acted in a range of cartel damages cases (including concerning the FX, Trucks, cables, air cargo and copper fixings cartels), as well as in abuse of dominance claims (including arising from the Commission’s Google Search decision) and cases concerning substantive breach of competition law (in particular pay-for-delay litigation). She has particular experience of acting and advising in relation to collection action proceedings.

    Current and recent instructions include:

    • Acting for Foundem in an action for damages against Google alleging abuse of a dominant position in the online search and shopping sector (led by Helen Davies QC, Sarah Ford QC and David Bailey)
    • Acting in follow-on collective action proceedings brought against banks concerning manipulation of the foreign exchange market arising from the European Commission’s decisions finding the existence of cartels in the FX market (led by Daniel Jowell QC and Gerard Rothschild)
    • Acting for CICRA (the Channel Islands competition regulator) in two ongoing competition investigations
    • Settling the collective proceedings order application for the RHA in follow-on collective action proceedings brought against truck manufacturers arising from the European Commission’s trucks cartel decision (led by James Flynn QC)
    • GlaxoSmithKline v CMA [2018] CAT 4 (now referred to the CJEU as Case C-307/18)): Appeal against fine levied by the Competition and Markets Authority concerning alleged “pay-for-delay” competition law infringements arising from settlement of patent litigation (led by James Flynn QC and David Scannell)
    • Advising on lawfulness under competition law of vertical restraints in online sales distribution contract
    • Advising on potential resale price maintenance breaches of the new Hong Kong Competition Ordinance (led by Mark Hoskins QC)
    • Assisting claimants in the Air Cargo litigation
    • IMI plc & anor v Delta Ltd & ors [2016] EWCA Civ 773: Appearing in the Court of Appeal and subsequent CMC in one of the only cases to consider contribution claims following settlement in a cartel damages claim (led by Helen Davies QC and subsequently by Robert O’Donoghue QC)
    • Drafting competition law defence concerning dominance in the software licensing sector (led by David Bailey)
  • EU law M

    Charlotte is qualified as a barrister in Ireland, enabling her to give ongoing advice on EU law matters. She is a member of the Law Library. Her fluent French often comes in useful in EU legal research.

    Charlotte has developed a particular expertise in pharmaceutical regulatory issues (including through her involvement in the major competition law pharmaceutical case GlaxoSmithKline v CMA [2018] CAT 4). Major instructions in this area include:

    • Acting for two pharmaceutical companies in appeals against decisions by the European Medicines Agency to release marketing authorisation dossier materials under the Transparency Regulation, including in successful interim applications to the General Court (upheld on appeal) (MSD v EMA, Cases T-729/15 R and C-512/16 P(R); PTC v EMA, Cases T-718/15 R and C-513/16 P(R)) and in substantive proceedings in which a decision from the CJEU is awaited (MSD v EMA, Cases T-729/15 and C-178/18 P; PTC v EMA, Cases T-718/15 and C‑175/18 P) (led by Jemima Stratford QC and Marie Demetriou QC respectively)
    • Acting for GE Healthcare in its appeal against the European Commission’s decision to withdraw the marketing authorisations of certain gadolinium-containing contrast agents (Case T-782/17) (led by David Scannell)
    • Advice to originator company on challenge to EMA’s decision to validate generic marketing authorisation
    • Teva v MHRA (Biogen intervening) [2018] EWHC 228 (Admin): Acting for Biogen, an originator, in its successful intervention in judicial review proceedings concerning the global marketing authorisation concept brought by two generic companies (Teva’s application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal was refused, as was Mylan’s application for permission to bring judicial review proceedings) (led by Jemima Stratford QC)

    Other EU law instructions include:

    • Acting in an ongoing case concerning EU law sanctions issues (led by Maya Lester QC)
    • Advising ClientEarth in relation to a possible environmental judicial review, raising issues of public and EU law (led by Martin Chamberlain QC)
    • Advising Corruption Watch on issues concerning the relationship between UK and EU bribery laws (led by Martin Chamberlain QC)
  • Public Law M

    Charlotte worked on a wide range of public law cases during her time at the UK Supreme Court. Current and recent public law instructions include:

    • Acting in judicial review proceedings against the British Standards Institution concerning a decision to withdraw a British Standard for steel tubing (led by Maya Lester QC)
    • Advising Liberty in relation to the Government’s Principles concerning torture and information-sharing (led by Martin Chamberlain QC)
    • Teva v MHRA (Biogen intervening) [2018] EWHC 228 (Admin): Acting for Biogen, an originator, in its successful intervention in judicial review proceedings concerning the global marketing authorisation concept brought by two generic companies (Teva’s application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal was refused, as was Mylan’s application for permission to bring judicial review proceedings) (led by Jemima Stratford QC)
    • Advising ClientEarth in relation to a possible environmental judicial review, raising issues of public and EU law (led by Martin Chamberlain QC)
    • Advising the Comptroller and Auditor-General in relation to certain public law duties (led by Richard Gordon QC)
    • Acting for embassy employee in state immunity case (applying Benkharbouche v S of S for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [2017] UKSC 62)
    • R (UNISON) v The Lord Chancellor [2017] UKSC 51: Acting for the Lord Chancellor in an access to justice challenge raising issues of EU, human rights and common law (led by Victoria Wakefield)
    • Advising Corruption Watch on issues concerning the relationship between UK and EU bribery laws (led by Martin Chamberlain QC)
    • Advising Children’s Rights Alliance for England on lawfulness of Criminal Justice and Courts Bill under international human rights instruments (led by Martin Chamberlain QC)

    Charlotte accepts pro bono instructions as appropriate, often in the fields of public, human rights and public international law. Recent pro bono clients include the Human Dignity Trust, Liberty, ClientEarth, the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre, Corruption Watch, and the Children’s Rights Alliance for England.

  • Career & Qualifications M

    Qualifications

    • BPTC, Kaplan Law School (2012-13) – Outstanding
    • Bachelor of Civil Law, University of Oxford (2011-12) – Distinction – conflict of laws; unjust enrichment; philosophical foundations of the common law; dissertation in contract law
    • Master of Laws, Harvard Law School (2010-11) – Dean’s Scholar – private law; international arbitration; constitutional law; global antitrust law; negotiation; conflict of laws
    • BA (Hons), Law, University of Cambridge (2007-10) – First class in all three years

    Scholarships and Prizes

    • Pupillage: Bar European Group Phoenicia Scholar (2014); ALBA Summer Conference Scholar (2014)
    • BPTC: Certificate of Honour, Middle Temple (2013); Advocacy Scholar, Kaplan Law School (2012); Queen Mother Scholarship and Harmsworth Entrance Exhibition, Middle Temple (2010)
    • Oxford: Eldon Law Scholar (awarded annually to the most promising Oxford graduate going to the Bar) (2013); Peter Birks Prize for Restitution of Unjust Enrichment (2012); Essex Court Chambers Scholarship (2011)
    • Harvard: Dean’s Prize for Conflict of Laws (2011); Joseph H Beale Writing Prize for Conflict of Laws (2011); Fellow of the Project on the Foundations of Private Law (2010-11)
    • Cambridge, University Prizes: Clifford Chance CJ Hamson Prize for Contract Law (2009); ECS Wade Prize for Constitutional Law (2008); Glanville Williams Prize for Criminal Law (2008); Squire Law Scholarship (2009, 2008)
    • Cambridge, Emmanuel College: Herchel Smith Scholar (full funding to study at Harvard) (2010); Honorary Bachelor Scholarship (2010); Porter Scholarship for Law (2009, 2008); Odgers Prize for Law (2010, 2009); David Williams Award (2008); Rowley Mainhood Award (2007)
    • Mooting and debating: Winner of John Smith Memorial Mace (England) (English national debating championships) (2012); Winner of Gray’s Inn Varsity moot (2012); Winner of Crown Office Row moot (2011); Top 10 speaker, European Universities Debating Championships (2010)

    Experience

    • Admissions Interviewer in Law/Jurisprudence, Balliol College, Oxford (2012), and Emmanuel College, Cambridge (2013-19)
    • Judicial Assistant to Lord Clarke and Lord Sumption, Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2014-15)
    • Pupillage, Brick Court Chambers (2013-14)
    • Teaching Fellow in Contract Law, University College London (2012-13)
    • Visiting Tutor and Examiner in Contract Law, King’s College London (2012-13)
    • Stagiaire, Shearman & Sterling LLP, International Arbitration Group, Paris (2011)
    • Legal Intern, European Roma Rights Centre, Budapest (2011)

    Professional Memberships

    COMBAR, BEG, ALBA, LCLCBA

    Publications

    • UK chapter in The Intellectual Property and Antitrust Review (2016-2019) (co-authored with James Flynn QC)