Tom Longstaff

Call 2017

Photo of Tom Longstaff

Practice Overview

Tom is a versatile barrister with considerable experience of legal practice that has involved appearing in every tier of the English courts up to the Court of Appeal. He is developing a broad commercial and insolvency practice in line with Chambers’ profile in those areas.

Since joining Exchange Chambers, he has regularly appeared in court in a range of commercial and insolvency matters, and has also worked as part of a larger team in a significant cross-border investment fraud dispute in the Commercial Court. Tom is also currently instructed by a US firm acting for 7,000 claimants in the Volkswagen Diesel Emissions litigation.

Before being called to the bar, Tom was an Associate in the Dispute Resolution team of a magic circle law firm in London, and has acted on behalf of large organisations and high net-worth individuals in their most complex and high-profile disputes. He has particular experience of complex litigation in the field of banking & finance.

Tom has a keen interest in pro-bono and has previously worked with a Florida-based charity which assists inmates on death row, and has also participated in numerous initiatives designed to encourage wider access to the legal profession.



Tom’s recent practice includes:

  • Successfully acting for the Claimant in the trial of a contractual dispute in which it was alleged by the Defendant that the agreement between the parties was an unlawful ‘Damages Based Agreement’ which had in any event been forged by the salesperson employed by the Claimant
  • 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
  • Advising on a negligence claim against a major high street bank
  • Working as part of a team of Junior Counsel at the disclosure stage of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry
  • Advising a family 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 gained experience of complex commercial litigation, including:

  • 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 most of the UK’s major clearing banks in disputes with SMEs after the Financial Conduct Authority identified failings in the sale of interest rate derivatives
  • Defending claims which allege manipulation of the LIBOR rate of interest and raised arguments as to the liability to pay breakage costs on the expiry of fixed-rate loans
  • 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
  • Issuing arbitration proceedings 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 is able to advise on practical solutions to litigation and has experience of applying for, and obtaining, Extended Civil Restraint Orders where numerous claims have been issued and which are totally without merit.


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 claims alleging misconduct against the Global Restructuring Group of RBS
  • 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

Further, Tom 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.