Tom Longstaff

Call 2017

‘Tom is calm and thinks quickly on his feet. He is excellent in conference with clients and is able to put them at ease. His advice is clear, concise and always with an understanding of the commercial impact of the advice, rather than solely the legal aspects.’

The Legal 500 2023
Photo of Tom Longstaff

Practice Overview

Tom Longstaff has a broad commercial and insolvency practice, with experience of complex High Court litigation at all stages, from pre-action through to trial, as well as of appeals in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

His recent work includes:

  • Led by Mark Cawson QC in the Court of Appeal in one of the leading authorities on seeking interim relief against a public body: R. (on the application of the Governing Body of X) v Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills [2020] EWCA Civ 594.
  • Led by Mark Cawson QC in proceedings brought pursuant to s.423 of the Insolvency Act 1986, which concerned the ability to use s.423 to challenge transactions which settled money under trust.
  • Led by David Mohyuddin QC in a multi-million pound dispute relating to a Share Purchase Agreement, following an alleged breach of warranty.
  • Led by David Mohyuddin QC in an appeal relating to the application of the Damages-Based Agreement Regulations 2013 to commercial contracts (RVA Surveyors Limited v BIAS Harrogate Limited [2019] EWCA Civ 2433), and acting as sole counsel in a related appeal.
  • Instructed by a national law firm, and led by Giles Maynard-Connor QC, in a dispute relating to the failure of a provider of online legal resources to properly develop and install bespoke practice management, human resources and client relationship management software.
  • Led by Mark Cawson QC and Louis Browne QC in the substantial group litigation which followed the collapse of the Fundão Dam in South-eastern Brazil.
  • Led by David Mohyuddin QC in a group action which followed the VW Emissions scandal.
  • Led by Louis Browne QC in advisory work concerning the merits of an application for a Group Litigation Order in respect of a substantial number of consumer claims.
  • Instructed as sole Counsel by a leading provider of postal services in the United Kingdom to advise on the ability to terminate a contract with a value of approximately £340 million per annum.
  • Acting for Oldham Athletic Football Club following an application to place the club into administration.
  • Acting in a dispute between a Super League Rugby League team and the owners of the stadium, which followed a without notice application for interim relief to enforce the alleged terms of an agreement.
  • Acting for a former director of Bury Football Club in bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Acting in a number of high-profile insolvency matters, including BHS and Pizza Express.
  • Acting for a group of creditors in an application which challenged the use, by the administrators of a company, of the deemed approval procedure in Schedule B1 to the Act in circumstances where it was envisaged that unsecured creditors might receive a distribution of realised assets (see Re Taylor Pearson (Construction) Ltd (In Administration) [2020] EWHC 2933 (Ch)).

Tom also has experience of arbitration, including in disputes administered by LCIA, SIAC and ad hoc rules: many of the cases in which he has been involved include a substantial international dimension.

His experience spans a range of sectors, and he has substantial experience of acting as sole counsel, as well of being part of a larger counsel team in highly complex and high-value litigation.

Before being called to the bar, Tom was a member of the Dispute Resolution practice at Linklaters LLP.



Tom’s recent practice includes:

  • Advising on the practical effect of the Recast Brussels Regulation and Rome I, and the ability to enforce the judgment of a foreign court in the UK.
  • Successfully acting for the Claimant in the trial of a contractual dispute in which the Defendant raised various allegations as to misrepresentation and forgery.
  • Successfully acting for the Claimant in the trial of a debt claim which involved a number of issues, including whether: (1) notice of an assignment from a company in administration to the Claimant was defective; (2) the Defendant had an equitable right of set off; (3) the assignor had appointed the officers of a separate company as their agents with authority to agree a write off of the debt before it was assigned.
  • Successfully acting as led junior in an appeal which determined whether a commercial contract was an enforceable Damages Based Agreement.
  • Obtaining an injunction against a former employee of an IT business.
  • Obtaining relief from sanction in a variety of circumstances, including as to the failure to file witness evidence and the non-payment of court fees.
  • Advising on claims against high street banks pursuant to the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
  • Advising a business in respect of breaches of a Joint Venture Agreement relating to shared rights over agricultural property.
  • Advising a West African company on civil bribery law and data protection policy.

Further, in his practice as a solicitor before being called to the Bar, Tom was involved in a variety of high profile and high value cases, which include:

  • Defending a major German bank in a £500 million dispute between a lending syndicate and high net-worth individual which alleged ‘front-running’ and conspiracy.
  • Acting for a Belgian entity in a Judicial Review of a decision by a UK public body to abort a tender process after a multi-million-pound rail infrastructure project was abandoned.
  • Acting in an arbitration on behalf of an American client against a Ukrainian hotel owner in a dispute as to the interpretation of a foreign-exchange mechanism used in a Deed of Indemnity.


Tom’s recent practice includes:

  • Regularly appearing in the applications list to apply for administration orders, and to extend the term of an administration.
  • Acting for the Creditor in contested bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Acting for the Liquidator in various claims against the former directors of a company relating to unlawful dividends and preferences.
  • Responding to an application to set aside a statutory demand.
  • Making an application to restore a company to the register and place it back into administration after further realisations were received by former administrators.

Before being called to the Bar, Tom was part of the team defending a major clearing bank in a £81 million claim in which it was alleged that it had conspired with an insolvency practitioner to force the Claimant into Receivership.

In addition, Tom has been involved in numerous cases with a substantial insolvency angle, which includes acting:

  • For Sir Philip Green, in the investigation undertaken by The Pensions Regulator following the administration of BHS.
  • In Blue Mango Investment Holdings v Bank of Ireland in which the Claimant company unsuccessfully applied for an injunction to prevent a sale by a Receiver on grounds of misconduct.

Tom also has experience of acting on behalf of a Trustee in Bankruptcy to recover losses occasioned by antecedent transactions, and in matters where a bankrupt seeks to challenge the conduct of the Trustee.