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Tom Smith QC

Work 020 7696 9900
South Square (South Square)


Tom specialises in commercial litigation and arbitration, banking and finance, corporate insolvency and restructuring and company law including investment funds. He also practices extensively in the fields of civil fraud and asset recovery, professional negligence and trusts.

Tom is an experienced advocate in both court litigation and arbitrations. He has extensive experience of major commercial trials. He has also been involved in many of the major restructuring and insolvency cases in recent years, including significant Supreme Court, House of Lords and Privy Council decisions in the fields of banking, insolvency and restructuring and investment funds.  Tom frequently appears as an advocate both in England and in other jurisdictions including the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Dubai and Gibraltar.


Called 1999 (Middle Temple); QC 2014.


COMBAR; Chancery Bar Association; Insolvency Lawyers’ Association; London Court of International Arbitration.


Clare College, Cambridge (1997 MA Law, 1998 LLM).

London Bar

Banking and finance (including consumer credit)

Within: Leading Silks

Tom Smith QC - South SquareHe is top class – very clever, gets to the nub of matters quickly, and a fantastic advocate.

Within: Banking and finance (including consumer credit)

South Square has an excellent reputation for handling technically challenging and knotty banking issues, often with an insolvency and fraud angle. The credit crunch saw the set's members embark on an impressive run of high-profile mandates, which continues to this day. Highlight instructions include Primeo Fund v HSBC, in which Tom Smith QC and Richard Fisher represented Primeo before the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal, the Lehman Waterfall I, II, and III applications, and SAAD v AHAB, which involves several members including Mark Phillips QC. William Trowers QC has recently been appointed a High Court judge and assigned to the Chancery Division.

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Commercial litigation

Within: Leading Silks

Tom Smith QC - South SquareGreat to work with, he sees the bigger commercial picture and works to gain a deep understanding of the client's issues.

Within: Commercial litigation

South Square may be best known for its top-tier expertise in insolvency-related disputes, but its members are also a mainstay of the broader commercial litigation arena. Their standing in the market is reflected in the calibre of their instructions, which recently  included Primeo v HSBC, a professional negligence claim arising from the Madoff fraud in which Tom Smith QC and Richard Fisher are among four members representing Primeo Fund. Other highlights include the AHAB v SAAD $9bn fraud dispute, one of the largest of its kind, and Vincent Tchenguiz v Grant Thornton, which involved five of the set's members, including Jeremy Goldring QC and Stephen Robins.

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Company and partnership

Within: Company - Leading Silks

Tom Smith QC - South SquareA very effective litigator, with a really good tactical sense and holds the attention of the court.

Within: Company and partnership

South Square is a 'modern and adaptable' set which stands out for handling English law-governed creditor schemes of arrangement across the globe; including in relation to House of Fraser, a matter multiple members are instructed on, including Tom Smith QC and David Allison QC. In another highlight, Smith QC acted for the successful appellant before the Privy Council in DD Growth, a case concerning the legality of payments made to shareholders from a company's share premium account, and the rights of a company to recover unlawful payments from a shareholder. With a practice that spans insolvency and company law, Barry Isaacs QC appeared as an independent expert in the High Court at the hearing to sanction the approval of a ringfencing scheme concerning the HSBC Group. In November 2018, Antony Zacaroli QC was appointed a High Court judge in the Chancery Division and will be joined in October 2019 by William Trowers QC.

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Fraud: civil

Within: Leading Silks

Tom Smith QC - South SquareA genuine superstar, he is very bright, pragmatic, hardworking, accessible and a pleasure to work with.

Within: Fraud: civil

South Square is home to several highly experienced silks and juniors with a strong track record in civil fraud. In many of the cases there is also a strong insolvency and offshore component. Major mandates include Primeo Fund v HSBC, in which Tom Smith QC was lead counsel for Primeo Fund, and Felicity Toube QC 's role in the high profile AHAB v Saad litigation.

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Within: Leading Silks

Tom Smith QC - South SquareHe is commercial, easy to access, responsive, very smart and client-friendly.

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Within: Leading Silks

Tom Smith QC - South SquareA real star, being very bright and a fantastic advocate.

Within: Offshore

For many 'the leading insolvency set', South Square is involved in all manner of offshore company matters, with a number of instructions involving collapsed investment funds of note. Following his representation of the Primeo Fund in claims against HSBC, Tom Smith QC is instructed to represent the Abraaj Group's provisional liquidators in the Cayman Islands litigation stemming from the private equity group's high-profile collapse; Adam Al-Attar is instructed to represent Abraaj Holdings Limited.

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