Mr Tom Bird > Chambers of Poonam Melwani KC > London, England > Barrister Profile

Chambers of Poonam Melwani KC
Quadrant Chambers


Tom Bird has a broad commercial practice with a focus on shipping, commodities, aviation, insurance and reinsurance. Chambers UK recommends him as “one to watch … He’s bright, he’s user-friendly, he’s accessible and he has good judgement.”

Tom has represented clients in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. He is equally at home in arbitration. His significant cases include appeals to the Supreme Court in The DC Merwestone – a marine insurance dispute concerning the fraudulent device doctrine – and Stott v Thomas Cook, the leading case on the exclusivity of the Montreal Convention and its relation to EU law.


Qualified 2011, Middle Inn.


COMBAR, London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association (LCLCBA), FRV.


Eton College; Cambridge University, MA (Hons) Theology (2006-2009); City University GDL (2009-2010), BPTC (2010-2011).

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Aviation

(Leading Juniors)Ranked: Tier 1

Tom BirdQuadrant Chambers ‘In addition to being very bright, Tom is a persuasive advocate and an astute cross-examiner.’

Offering ‘a broad range of talent across the juniors and KCs’ who handle aviation matters, Quadrant Chambers‘ barristers are called upon by the world’s leading airlines and lessors on matters ranging from EC261 claims to major commercial disputes concerning hull damage and non-payment of rent among other issues. John Kimbell KC is frequently called upon in regard to fatal accidents while Robert-Jan Temmink KC is engaged in coverage and leasing disputes arising out of the imposition of sanctions in Russia. Matthew Reeve KC, appointed silk in 2023, acted for the family of the footballer Emiliano Sala in the inquest into his death in a crash near Guernsey in 2019, in addition to work on leasing disputes – Tom Bird acted for the aircraft’s maintenance providers in the Sala inquest. Craig Williams acts for lessors and airlines in a range of commercial disputes, while also handling hull damage and fatal accident claims.

London Bar > Shipping

(Leading Juniors)Ranked: Tier 1

Tom BirdQuadrant Chambers ‘Tom gives great attention to detail and is open to ideas.’

Quadrant Chambers remains one of the leading shipping sets in the market, with its members continuously involved in the biggest cases arising out of the maritime industry. The Eternal Bliss, which was set to go to the Supreme Court in 2023 but settled shortly beforehand, included appearances from Simon Rainey KC  and Tom Bird; the former also acted in the limitation action arising out of the fire on board the Maersk Honam in 2018. Another Supreme Court case was the Herculito Maritime v Gunvor International, dealing with ransom payment to pirates, in which Guy Blackwood KC acted on behalf of the insurers. Stewart Buckingham continued to have another busy year in shipping, with cases including the litigation after the Ever Given ran aground in 2021, obstructing the Suez Canal for six days. Matthew Reeve KC was appointed to silk in 2023, while James Shirley joined the set from The 36 Group.

London Bar > Commodities

(Leading Juniors)Ranked: Tier 3

Tom BirdQuadrant Chambers ‘Tom is commercially minded, understands client objectives, and has a flexible approach.’

Asia Pacific - The English Bar > Shipping and commodities

(Leading Juniors)Ranked: Tier 1

Tom BirdQuadrant ChambersTom always provides concise and incisive input on any matter, and has an impressive ability to grasp the key issues and dive into the heart of a case within a very short time.’

With a reputation for having the ‘best strength in depth for shipping work‘, Quadrant Chambers‘ ‘simply brilliant‘ barristers ‘have a deep understanding of the shipping industry and their legal acumen is exceptional‘. In a prominent example of the set’s expertise demonstrated before the English courts, Simon Rainey KC and Tom Bird represented the appellant before the Court of Appeal in the longrunning case of K Line Pte Ltd v Priminds Shipping (HK) Co Ltd, known as The Eternal Bliss. The case involved a major point of shipping law, namely the availability of damages in addition to demurrage arising from a charterer’s failure to complete cargo operations. The Court of Appeal ruled that demurrage liquidates the whole of the damages arising from a charterer’s breach. The Supreme Court granted permission to appeal, however the case was settled in April 2023.