Tom Owen

Call: 2011

Email: towen@keatingchambers.com

Tel: +44 (0)20 7544 2600

Practice Overview

Tom Owen is recognised as one of the leading juniors at the construction and energy Bar.

Tom is widely-acclaimed in the legal directories, recognised as “one of the most promising juniors at the Bar”. Legal Week’s ‘Stars at the Bar’ say “he has everything you would want of Counsel“.

Tom is known particularly for his advocacy and trial work.

Tom regularly appears as advocate in the High Court and arbitration. Tom has appeared, as Junior Counsel, in the Court of Appeal.

Recent recommendations:

‘Stars at the Bar’:

  • Of Tom’s cross-examination: “he destroyed the other party’s case – such that they withdrew their claim before a decision was reached.”
  • “he doesn’t back down when challenged by a judge and continues to fight his corner even in the face of adversity.”
  • “he has everything you would want of Counsel.”

Chambers and Partners:

  • “widely acclaimed up-and-coming junior who regularly appears as sole counsel before the TCC.”
  • “His written court work is outstanding”.
  • “His work is meticulous and of a very high standard.”

Who’s Who Legal:

  • “Tom is mature beyond his years; he’s incredibly thorough in his preparation and sees points in a claim that others might overlook.”
  • “one of the most promising young juniors at the Bar.”
  • “by a long way the best junior counsel I have instructed in over 20 years of practice.”
  • “His written work is exemplary and his court presence is very impressive for someone of his year of call”.

 

Practice Areas
  • Advocacy
  • Construction & Engineering
  • Commercial
  • Professional Negligence
  • Arbitration
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Infrastructure & Utilities
  • Offshore Construction & Marine Engineering
  • PFI/PPP
  • Property
  • IT & Technology
  • Insurance
  • Private International Law (conflicts of law)
  • Health and Safety / Regulatory
Advocacy

Trials:

  • 3 week trial (London TCC): termination and delay dispute against a subcontractor concerning a power plant in Wales.
  • 2 week trial (London TCC): defects dispute concerning a football stadium.
  • 1 week trial (London TCC): high net worth individual central London property dispute.  Judgment with costs and dismissal of the counterclaim. The case required careful cross-examination by Tom of the factual witnesses and experts, and submissions on the law of repudiation, notices making time of the essence, delay, the prevention principle and recovery of payments in restitution.
  • 3 day trial (London TCC): developer defending a claim for breach of contract the Defective Premises Act 1972 concerning defects in common parts of a development of residential apartments. The trial ultimately turned on whether a lease between a developer and management company contained implied terms as to the standard of construction of the development. Tom successfully argued that there were no implied terms.
  • 2 day trial (Leeds TCC): developer defending a claim concerning compliance with Building Regulations and the correct measure of damages. The case required robust cross-examination of the engineering expert and witnesses.
  • 1 day Part 8 trial (London TCC): the requirements of a payment notice in a hybrid contract.
  • Criminal prosecution: defending a national housebuilder for health and safety charges on a construction site in Manchester.  Tom’s client was acquitted.

Adjudication enforcements: various, seeking and resisting enforcement.

  • London TCC: resisting enforcement fraud in procuring the decision – not enforced.
  • London TCC: resisting enforcement by section 105(2)(c) where the primary activity on site was power generation (fluidised-bed gasification power plant) – not enforced.
  • London TCC: seeking a stay of execution concerning a biomass power plant – stay obtained for c£4.5m, approximately half judgment sum.
  • Manchester TCC: resisting enforcement – wrong party (no jurisdiction), decision out of time (no jurisdiction), errors in appointment (jurisdiction), and breach of natural justice – not enforced.

Arbitration hearings:

  • 5 day liability trial – Counsel for the Claimant in a substantial M&E dispute concerning refrigeration equipment at a food production facility.  Judgment for the Claimant.
  • 2 day fraud trial – Counsel for the Claimant against Leading Counsel.  Judgment for the Claimant.

Appeals:

  • Court of Appeal – Junior Counsel, led by Simon Hargreaves QC.  In a hybrid contract, for the purpose of section 111 of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 must a payment notice identify the sum due in respect of construction operations separately from any non-construction or excluded operations.  Appeal pending.
  • Court of Appeal – Junior Counsel, led by Steven Walker QC, concerning whether a CPR Part 15 Defence is required to resist enforcement proceedings by summary judgment under CPR Part 24 for fraud.  Appeal pending.
  • Court of Appeal – Junior Counsel, led by Marcus Taverner QC, concerning the meaning of an exemption clause “liability for any claim in relation to asbestos is  excluded”.
  • Court of Appeal – Junior Counsel, led by Simon Hughes QC, concerning amendments after expiry of the limitation period.  Whether they were a “new claim” under section 35 of the Limitation Act 1980 and rule 17.4 of the Civil Procedure Rules.

Case Management Conferences (CMC):

  • Construction dispute (London TCC) – approval of  the client’s budget, and reduction by 10% of the opposition’s budget.
  • Professional negligence dispute (Manchester TCC)  reduction of 15% in the opposition’s budget.
  • Engineering dispute (Bristol TCC)  successful application to amend and summary judgment.
  • Commercial dispute (Leeds TCC)  reduction of 25% in the opposition’s budget.

Pre-Trial Reviews (PTR):

  • Energy dispute (London TCC) – successful application to add Third Party under CPR Part 20 and to amend.
  • Professional negligence dispute (Leeds TCC) – successfully resisted an application by the Defendant to amend its counterclaim.
  • Construction dispute (Bristol TCC) – successful application to vacate the trial.

Applications:

  • Specific disclosure (London QBD) – successfully obtained specific disclosure in a commercial dispute.
  • Strike out (London TCC) – successfully resisted strike out of claims for loss of future business and profits, concerning assignments, contractual construction and remoteness of damage.
  • Summary judgment (London TCC) – whether an agreement was ‘subject to contract’ and conditional upon formal execution.
  • Summary judgment and strike out (Manchester TCC) – successfully resisted strike out concerning allegations of no-loss and invalid assignments.
  • Relief from sanctions (High Court, Chester District Registry) – 1 day hearing involving live evidence and cross-examination.
  • Section 9 Arbitration Act stay (Bristol TCC).
  • Part 18 requests for further information (TCC) – various, seeking and resisting applications.
  • Amendments – various, seeking and resisting.

Adjudication hearings:

  • Counsel – defending a claim for rectification and fraud.  Tom cross-examined the referring party’s principal factual witness.  Following the hearing, the Referring Party discontinued the adjudication.
  • Counsel –  defending claims under a £84m fit-out and refurbishment contract. Following cross-examination of the delay expert and submissions, no order for payment was made against the client.
Construction & Engineering
  • Counsel in a football stadium defects dispute.
  • Counsel in a delay and payment dispute concerning Heathrow airport.
  • Counsel for funders and developers concerning the fit-out of a central London hotel.
  • Advises frequently on termination.
  • Counsel in fraud proceedings concerning central London developments.
Commercial
  • Counsel in a claim in the Commercial Court under a guarantee.
  • Counsel for a football club in a commercial dispute involving allegations of defamation.
  • Counsel in a shipping dispute concerning a termination clause under a charterparty and the BIMCO Barecon 2001 form.
  • Advised on economic torts, including conspiracy to injure, unlawful means conspiracy and malicious falsehood in relation to an international exclusive distribution agreement.
  • Advised on service of documents out of the jurisdiction under Part 6 of the Civil Procedure Rules and under the Hague Convention.
Professional Negligence
  • Counsel for the Employer in proceedings (TCC) concerning the design and installation of ground source heat energy pump systems.
  • Counsel for the developer in proceedings (TCC) against consulting engineers concerning ground contamination.
  • Counsel in proceedings (TCC) against M&E consultants concerning design and review of air conditioning systems.
  • Counsel in proceedings (TCC) against geotechnical engineers concerning landslips at a housing development.
  • Counsel in disputes (arbitration) against specialist cladding, window and door designers and contractors.
Arbitration
  • Junior Counsel in an ICC Arbitration concerning a residential, office and hotel project in Dubai.
  • Junior Counsel in an ICC Arbitration concerning an offshore wind farm.
  • Counsel in a claim concerning earthworks at a University campus.
  • Counsel for an insurer seeking enforcement of arbitral award.
  • Advised on the effectiveness of an arbitration clause in a consumer contract and the effect of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.
Energy & Natural Resources
  • Counsel for the Main Contractor in termination disputes (TCC) concerning a biomass fired energy plant.
  • Counsel for the Contractor in claims (arbitration) concerning a substantial African gas pipeline.
  • Counsel for the Employer in payment disputes (adjudication and TCC) concerning a gas-fired power station.
  • Counsel in biological treatment (TCC) and energy from waste (advisory) projects.
  • Counsel on offshore windfarm disputes (arbitration).
Infrastructure & Utilities
  • Counsel in a dispute concerning works to flight training facilities at Heathrow Airport.
  • Advised on motorway road maintenance contracts.
  • Advocate in disputes concerning damage to apparatus owned by utility companies, in negligence and under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991.
  • Counsel for a contractor concerning flood defence systems along the River Thames.
  • Counsel in claim concerning fire damage and remedial works to a hospital.
Offshore Construction & Marine Engineering
  • Counsel in a claim concerning bridge linked platforms between oil drilling rigs.
  • Counsel in a dispute concerning one the UK’s largest commercial ports.
  • Advised on non-assignment provisions under an Engineer-Procure-Construct contract for an offshore drilling rig.
  • Junior Counsel in a dispute concerning offshore heavy lifting vessels.
  • Claim by an oil major against a global offshore contractor in respect of defective installation of a subsea dynamic umbilical cable at a floating production storage and offloading vessel (FPSO).
PFI/PPP
  • Counsel for the Contractor in defects disputes concerning PFI BSF projects.
  • Counsel for NHS Trusts in defects and payment disputes concerning Use, Accessibility, Safety, Unavailability and Clinical Interdependency.
  • Counsel in fire stopping, fire compartmentation and fire defects disputes.
  • Counsel for local authorities under project agreements concerning the interpretation of payment mechanisms on utilities payment disputes.
  • Counsel for Project Co in respect of availability at a leisure complex.
Property
  • Counsel in a claim concerning remedies for specific performance, rescission and damages relating to the conveyance of residential properties.
  • Counsel in a claim concerning private nuisance and trespass to subterranean works.
  • Advised on easements (rights of way and parking).
  • Counsel in a claim concerning defective title to residential premises.
  • Counsel in a dispute between a property management company and developers relating to common parts of a development.
IT & Technology
  • Counsel in a dispute concerning the updating of the website of a leading advertising agency.
  • Counsel in a commercial broadband and telecommunications dispute, raising issues of loss of profit, loss of reputation and exclusion clauses.
  • Counsel in a dispute concerning the supply and transport of high voltage switchgear electronics.
  • Advised in relation to GPS tracking technology.
  • Advised in relation to distribution agreements for satellite antennae.
Insurance
  • Counsel in a claim against insurers under a defective title property policy.
  • Advised on the recoverability under an insurance policy for subsidence damage.
  • Advised on the subrogated rights of an insured as against a co-insured of a joint names insurance policy on a dispute concerning damage to a hospital.
  • Drafted statements of case and advised on coverage under NHBC and related insurance policies and their legal effect upon independent liability under construction contracts, leases, guarantees and the Defective Premises Act 1972.
  • Advised on remedies concerning insurance disputes through the Financial Ombudsman, under
    the ICOBS rules and the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
Private International Law (conflicts of law)
  • Counsel for owners of a Central London restaurant, advising on jurisdiction under the Brussels I Regulation Recast and choice of law in contract and tort.
  • Advised on the jurisdiction of the English High Court under the Lugano Convention over a company domiciled in Switzerland.
  • Advised on the effectiveness under English and EU law of sale and distribution agreements for satellite antennae.
  • Assisted in advising on the validity of a Kuwaiti contract of guarantee.
  • Advised on the Brussels I Regulations, Rome Convention, Rome I Regulations and Rome II Regulations.

 

Health and Safety / Regulatory
  • Counsel for the Defendant in a criminal prosecution of a national housebuilder for health and safety charges on a construction site in Manchester.
  • Counsel in a criminal prosecution for scaffolding offences at a construction site under s169 of the Highways Act 1980.
  • Advised on liability under the Health and Safety at Work Act, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations, Control of Asbestos Regulations and Construction (Design and Management) Regulations.