Tom Adam QC is well-known as a leading advocate and adviser in a broad range of heavy commercial work. Recent cases include acting for the successful claimant in a hard-fought two week arbitration between well-known oligarchs; bringing a £120m claim for Northern Rock against its former solicitors; a successful appeal (having not acted below) for the Candy brothers against a freezing order (Holyoake v Candy  2 All ER (Comm) 513); and defending a firm of solicitors accused of fraudulent conspiracy to procure false evidence (Accident Exchange v McLean & Others  EWHC (Comm) 23).
Tom is a market leader in complex professional negligence/disciplinary matters, and is regularly instructed in matters involving the Magic Circle firms of solicitors and the Big Four accountants. He has acted in many cases in the public eye, including Stone & Rolls v Moore Stephens; the phone hacking scandal; the Takeover Panel proceedings relating to Vallar plc/Bumi; and the collapse of Connaught plc. He has extensive experience of dealing with regulatory bodies in high profile disciplinary matters and is currently lead Counsel for the FRC in relation to its investigations into the collapse of Carillion plc.
Tom is also one of the UK’s leading insurance/reinsurance lawyers, with a depth of experience going back to the Lloyd’s litigation of the 1990s. He is the author of Chapter 10 (insurance brokers) in Professional Negligence & Liability (LLP).
An expert in the law of privilege, on which he writes and lectures, Tom is regularly instructed by The Law Society to advise and appear in privilege cases in which the Society is intervening; this work has included two leading House of Lords/Supreme Court cases (Three Rivers No 6 (2005) and Prudential v Pandolfo (2012)).
At Cambridge he won a boxing blue as well as prizes for light verse, oratory and more conventional academic achievements.
Tom’s recent general commercial cases include a 2 week arbitration dispute between oligarchs in late 2017, in which Tom obtained a substantial award for his client (this was then turned into an order of the Commercial Court, resulting in the issue of a freezing order and payment in short order), and Holyoake v Candy  2 All ER (Comm) 513, in which Tom (instructed to come in at the appellate stage) over-turned a novel form of freezing injunction granted against the Candy brothers by the Chancery Division; the Court of Appeal accepted that the Judge had both applied the wrong legal test and misunderstood the facts.
Tom is regularly instructed in heavy professional negligence disputes involving the leading firms of accountants, solicitors, insurance brokers, barristers and others. His broad commercial experience enables him to analyse underlying transactions in many different commercial spheres and to make an accurate assessment of where strengths and weaknesses lie. He has appeared in some of the highest profile cases of recent years.
Some significant recent cases:
Some significant past cases:
As a natural fit with his expertise in professional negligence, Tom regularly acts for the same blue chip client base in relation to professional disciplinary matters. He has extensive experience of the disciplinary functions of all the major regulators, including the Takeover Panel, the FRC, the ICAEW, and the SRA. Recently he has acted for PricewaterhouseCoopers in relation to charges brought by the FRC over its audit of Connaught plc, and for Freshfields in relation to charges brought by the Takeover Panel in relation to the affairs of Vallar plc/BUMI. He is currently lead Counsel for the FRC in relation to its investigations into the collapse of Carillion plc.
Tom's practice has included a substantial amount of insurance and reinsurance work from the moment he joined Chambers. Most of this has been undertaken in arbitrations, especially in the reinsurance market, and is therefore confidential but in the last decade the value of the large number of insurance/reinsurance arbitrations in which Tom has appeared is in the billions. Tom is also instructed from time to time as an expert in English law on insurance/reinsurance cases in other jurisdictions and as an arbitrator in insurance/reinsurance disputes.
Tom is regularly instructed in matters involving banks and other financial institutions. Two examples:
In addition, Tom's professional negligence practice for (and occasionally against) the "Magic Circle" solicitors regularly crosses over into high value banking transactions (for example he advised a major City firm in relation to claims arising from the collapse of Lehman and the form of a Prime Brokerage Agreement under which assets of almost US$1bn were being held).
Tom is regularly instructed by The Law Society in relation to questions relating to privilege. He appeared in the House of Lords when the Society intervened in Three Rivers DC v Bank of England (No 6) on the scope of legal advice privilege, and in both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court in Prudential v Pandolfo on whether advice on the law from accountants attracts legal advice privilege. He also advises the Society from time to time on other, confidential, matters.
Below is a selection of comments about Tom since he took silk in 2008. Tom takes pride in the fact that these quotations illustrate that he is a team player, with whom clients and other professionals can easily establish a good working relationship. He treats litigation as a team sport rather than a solo event, and regards one of the key skills for a modern silk in complex cases as the ability to ensure that contributions from all involved are as fruitful as possible. Having been a solicitor himself he understands what his professional clients need, and he knows that his lay clients want comprehensive advice in common sense language. He never forgets that the law is a service industry.
Trinity College, Cambridge; BA 1987 (Lizette Bentwich Prize).
Boxing blue 1987.
Charles Grant Tennant Prize for light verse 1984 and 1987.
Hooper Oration Prize 1986.
Married; three sons.