Dr Christopher Thomas is currently our Deputy Head of Chambers. He was called to the Bar in 1973 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1989. Dr Thomas has built an impressive reputation as an advocate and arbitrator in construction and engineering energy and IT disputes.
Dr Thomas has over 30 years experience acting for clients in the UK Courts, domestic and international arbitration and other forms of ADR. His experience extends to most types of construction projects including EPC Contracts for the construction of new power stations, major utility projects, bridge and tunnelling projects and major processing facilities.
In addition to his extensive expertise in the UK Courts Dr Thomas has also acted on some of the biggest claims to be decided by the UK adjudication process. These have included a series of adjudications in relation to works on motorway viaduct and major claims relating to upgrade work at an oil refinery.
Dr Thomas is also a respected arbitrator, adjudicator and mediator. His experience includes major international arbitrations for the International Chamber of Commerce and the London Court of International Arbitration, adjudications in the UK and contractual adjudications for international projects. He is also a practising mediator dealing with international disputes such as oil concession agreements.
The locations of his cases have included Barbados, Dubai, Gibraltar (where he was admitted to the Bar), Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Sudan, Tobago, and Yemen.
"a good, determined fighter on any decent-sized dispute." “His hands-on approach and enthusiasm for "rolling his sleeves up" is widely commended by observers”
Chambers and Partners 2012
"a responsive and utterly reliable brief"
Chambers and Partners 2011
Dr Christopher Thomas is "accessible, well prepared and a team player." He has extensive experience of construction and engineering projects and is particularly well versed in energy issues.
Chambers and Partners 2010
Dr Christopher Thomas is never less than well received for his extensive knowledge of construction and engineering disputes, particularly those attached to energy projects. He knows engineering procurement and construction contracts inside-out and has abundant experience in the running of adjudications.
Chambers and Partners 2009
“intellectually impressive"...“will fight a case tooth and nail”..."recognised as an established player"..."in constant demand as Counsel."..."Recommended as a leading silk."
Chambers and Partners/Legal 500
Construction and Engineering
- Acting for employers in an arbitration arising from a dispute over a water treatment plant project in Saudi Arabia.
- Acting in a major Hong Kong bridge arbitration arising from a dispute over fabrication work in mainland China.
- Appearing in a Technology and Construction Court case on a dispute arising from a cold storage facility project.
- Acting as counsel in an-adjudication for Major Contractors regarding blasting and paintwork contracts on a large viaduct.
- Acting for an international contractor in an arbitration in Sweden of a dispute arising from the engineering of the Oyan River dam in Nigeria.
- Advising and appearing in the latter stages of the long-running arbitration of an earth-works dispute arising from a major by-pass scheme in the north-west of England.
- Providing pre-contract advice on bonds and contractual terms for an electric turbine project in Barbados.
- Acting as Counsel for a Major Contractor against a Utility company regarding the refurbishment of over-head power Cables.
- Advising an International Power Company on obligations in relation to refurbishment work at a UK power station.
- Advising the contractor on a claim arising from the construction of a Process Plant in Africa.
- Advised several energy companies on issues relating to Force Majeure claims.
- Advising the employer on issues arising from the construction of a waste and energy plant.
- Acted for many of the leading insurance companies including Axa.
- Successfully represented the claimant Technotrade Ltd in the Court of Appeal on claim relating to a landslip.
- Advisory and adjudication work on a series of disputes arising from the construction of the national 3G network of mobile phone and imaging service providers.
- As Arbitrator, Christopher recently concluded the Award in a long running ICC arbitration concerning major infrastructure works in Ethiopia and Eritrea, following hearings in Paris, Zurich and Tunisia.
- Appointed as arbitrator by the ICC in a dispute arising from a gas plant project in Pakistan.
- Acting as co-arbitrator under a Dubai Chamber of Commerce appointment in relation to disputes arising from a highway construction project.
- Appointed as co-arbitrator by the ICC on a dispute between a major European contractor and a government client arising from a project in Africa (hearings in Paris, Tunis and Zurich).
- Acted as mediator in an action relating to a dispute over protected fields from a Middle Eastern Oil Field.
- Dr Thomas has acted as chairman of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Disciplinary Panel on several occasions.
- Appointed by the RICS under their Dispute Resolution Scheme to act as Independent expert in a dispute in relation to a Deed of Release for the leasehold of a commercial property.
- Appointed by the parties as Adjudicator to decide a dispute regarding the refurbishment and fit-out of a London Hotel.
- Appointed by the RICS under their Dispute Resolution Scheme to act as Adjudicator in a dispute between the contractor and the employer in a claim for loss of profit arising out of the construction and refurbishment of a housing development.
- Appointed by the RICS under their Dispute Resolution Scheme to act as Adjudicator in a dispute between the parties arising from the subcontract to complete roadworks and groundworks where the employer alleged the contractor was negligent.
- Appointed by the RICS under their Dispute Resolution Scheme to act as Adjudicator in a dispute regarding withholding notices.
- Named Adjudicator in the contract to resolve disputes arising from the construction of transmission lines, substations and electrification of border towns for an interconnection power project.
- Contributor, Keating on Construction Contracts 9th Edition (2012)
- Contributor, Keating on Construction Contracts 8th Edition, 1st Supplement (2008).
- Understanding the New FIDIC Red Book: a clause-by-clause commentary - Simon Hughes QC & Jeremy Glover of Fenwick Elliottwith an introduction by Christopher Thomas QC 8 November 2006
- Christopher Thomas has written submissions in response to The Law Commission Consultation paper on Privity of Contract: contracts for the benefit of third parties, and to the DoE Consultation paper on latent defects liability and 'Build' insurance, 'Fair Construction Contracts'.
- 12th Annual Construction Conference, Kings College London: The HGCR Act 1996.
Education and Professional Career
B.A. Honours Degree in Law, First Class University of Kent at Canterbury.
Lincoln's Inn, Hardwick Scholarship
Jenkins (major) Scholarship
Faculté Internationale de Droit Comparé, Paris
Diplôme de Droit Comparé, avec Mérite, Beirut, Lebanon
Called to the Bar of (Lincoln's Inn)
Admitted to the Bar of Gibraltar
Appointed Crown & Civil Recorder (Deputy Circuit Judge)
Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators,
PhD, Comparative Law, King's College London
CEDR Accredited Mediator
TECBAR Accredited Adjudicator
Singapore Institute of Arbitrators (SIAC)
Public Access Training
RICS Panel of Construction Adjudicator
Construction Industry Council Adjudicator
Member of Arbrix
RICS Middle East, North East and Africa (MENEA) Arbitrator Panel
Technology and Construction Bar Association (TECBAR)
Society of Advanced Legal Studies
Society of Construction Law (COMBAR)
Following his PhD in comparative law Christopher maintains his interest in academic work and is a visiting lecturer on the MSc Construction Law course at King’s College, London
Christopher lectures regularly on Guarantees and Bonds, set-off, liquidated damages, PFI and the advancement of harmonisation in Europe. He also supervises dissertations on the MSc in Construction Law and Management for King's College, University of London and is a tutor in the advocacy-training programme at Lincoln's Inn and a judge in moots.
If you would like to discuss ways in which Keating Chambers can assist you or your organisation, please contact Senior Clerk, Nick Child
, in the first instance, on +44(0)20 7544 2600. The teams of Clerks will be pleased to advise you on the member of Keating Chambers appropriate to your requirements.
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