Home > Our people > Barristers > Tom Bell
Tom Bell
  • We take data and privacy issues very seriously. See our privacy policy.
  • This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Very client-friendly

Legal 500

Tom is a highly experienced junior, specialising in commercial, professional negligence and insurance disputes. Tom is sought after for both his courtroom skills and advisory work. Clients value his commercially minded advice, attention to detail and tactical acumen.

Tom is a contributor to Paul Reed QC’s Construction All Risks Insurance (Sweet & Maxwell) Construction Professional Indemnity Insurance (Sweet & Maxwell) and the loose-leaf Insurance Broking Practice and Law (Informa).

In his spare time, Tom enjoys fatherhood, cricket and golf.

Banking & Finance

Tom is regularly instructed on behalf of and against banks and finance houses. A large proportion of his work in this area involves disputes arising from asset-finance agreements and guarantees (often relating to motor vehicles). He is also experienced in consumer law, regularly representing banks and other financial institutions facing allegations of loans being unenforceable under the Consumer Credit Act, as well as loans and other financial products being mis-sold.

Tom has extensive experience of mortgage-related disputes, principally contested possession claims involving such issues as undue influence and forged deeds.

Examples of Tom’s banking & finance work

  • Skelwith (Leisure) Ltd and others v Armstrong and others [2015] All ER (D) 98 (Oct)
    Tom acted (led by Brie Stevens-Hoare QC) for the Claimants in a summary judgment/strike-out application concerning the validity of a sale by the assignee of a legal mortgage.  The case raises important issues concerning the construction of certain provisions of the Law of Property Act 1925 and the Land Registration Act 2002.
  • Chatfields-Martin Walter Ltd v Lombard North Central PLC [2014] EWHC 1222 (QB):
    Tom successfully represented a motor dealership in an important appeal concerned HPI, the well-known hire purchase information service.  Leggatt J said that his case was “extremely well argued”.
  • Waite v Paccar Financial PLC [2012] EWCA Civ 901 (CA):
    Second appeal in the Court of Appeal concerned the construction of a lease purchase agreement.  McFarlane LJ praised Tom’s “helpful and clear submissions”.
  • Appearing in the Court of Appeal (on a second appeal) for a finance house against the lessee of a commercial lorry. The claim, brought under a contractual indemnity, was for the loss suffered in connection with a claim by the third party (another finance house) who bought the lorry.
  • Acting for a bank against a borrower alleging that his loan was unenforceable on the basis of various alleged breaches of the Consumer Credit Act and associated regulations.
  • Advising a finance house on its claim against a third party who bought a vehicle from its lessee without the finance house’s consent.
  • Acting for a bank in a multi-party High Court mortgage dispute involving issues of undue influence and constructive notice.

Civil Fraud & Asset Tracing

Tom has particular expertise in fraud claims.

  • Acted (with Nigel Jones QC and Emily Betts) for an American company in a claim against a Saudi agent in relation to substantial commercial tender in Saudi Arabia. Tom assisted with anti-suit and freezing injunctions in the Commercial Court seeking to prevent the bringing of conflicting proceedings in the Saudi courts.
  • Tom acted for the claimant in a substantial, multi-party fraud. Tom successfully obtained a freezing injunction in the Chancery Division (Birmingham District Registry).

Commercial Litigation

Tom has a broad-based commercial practice.  His work covers all forms of commercial and business disputes, including sale and hire of goods, franchising and directors’ duties.  Tom also has extensive experience of cases involving allegations of fraud.  Details of Tom’s banking and finance can be found in a separate section of this CV.

Tom is often instructed to advise in relation to and represent clients seeking interim remedies, such as freezing injunctions, often on an urgent basis.

Examples of Tom’s commercial work

  • Times Travel (UK) Ltd and another v Pakistan International Airlines Corporation (ongoing, Chancery Division):
    Tom acts for the defendant airline in a dispute concerning commission payments to agent.
  • Acted (with Nigel Jones QC and Emily Betts) for an American company in a claim against a Saudi agent in relation to substantial commercial tender in Saudi Arabia. Tom assisted with anti-suit and freezing injunctions in the Commercial Court seeking to prevent the bringing of conflicting proceedings in the Saudi courts.
  • As sole counsel, Tom acted for the claimant in a substantial, multi-party fraud. Tom successfully obtained a freezing injunction in the Chancery Division (Birmingham District Registry).
  • The Color Company (TM) Limited v Lillywhite and others (2016 unreported, HHJ Luba QC):
    Tom successfully resisted the claimant’s application for an interim injunction restraining three of its former employees from solicitation of customers on behalf of their new employer.  Amongst other issues, the case concerned the enforceability of post-termination restrictive covenants.
  • Advising an electronic components supplier in relation to a multi-party product liability claim.
  • Salt v Stratstone Specialist Ltd [2015] EWCA Civ 745:
    Acted for the Defendant in the Court of Appeal concerning rescission of a contract of sale.
  • Thorney Park Golf Ltd v Myers Catering Ltd [2015] EWCA Civ 19:
    Court of Appeal case concerning the construction of a franchise agreement.
  • Chatfields-Martin Walter Ltd v Lombard North Central PLC [2014] EWHC 1222 (QB):
    Tom successfully represented a motor dealership in an important appeal concerned HPI, the well-known hire purchase information service.  Leggatt J said that his case was “extremely well argued”.
  • Waite v Paccar Financial PLC [2012] EWCA Civ 901 (CA):
    Acted for the Defendant in the Court of Appeal concerning the construction of a lease purchase agreement. McFarlane LJ praised Tom’s “helpful and clear submissions”.
  • Acted on a dispute about the beneficial ownership of a vocational training college, in which his clients faced allegations of fraud. The client was ultimately successful on the basis of Tom’s argument that the claim was barred by the principle of no reflective loss.
  • Successfully defended a claim for conversion of a tractor. The case involved multiple defendants, and concerned issues of title and the provisions of the Sale of Goods Act 1979.
  • Providing urgent advice for an international security company concerning the evacuation of oil workers from Iraq.

Employment & Executive Disputes

Tom has experience acting for and against employees involved in commercial disputes with their employer. He has particular experience in claims to enforce (or to challenge the enforceability of) restrictive covenants in contracts of employment.

  • The Color Company (TM) Limited v Lillywhite and others (2016 unreported, HHJ Luba QC):
    Tom successfully resisted the claimant’s application for an interim injunction restraining three of its former employees from solicitation of customers on behalf of their new employer.  Amongst other issues, the case concerned the enforceability of post-termination restrictive covenants.

Private International Law

Acted (with Nigel Jones QC and Emily Betts) for an American company in a claim against a Saudi agent in relation to substantial commercial tender in Saudi Arabia. Tom assisted with anti-suit and freezing injunctions in the Commercial Court seeking to prevent the bringing of conflicting proceedings in the Saudi courts.

Construction Insurance

Tom is a contributor to the two leading construction insurance text books (both under the general authorship of Paul Reed QC): Construction All Risks Insurance and Construction Professional Indemnity Insurance. He has substantial experience in claims relating to both areas.

Tom’s recent CAR experience includes:

  • Acting for the insured in a coverage dispute arising from damage to an subsea power cable
  • Acting for insurers in connection with a coverage dispute concerning a landslip during the expansion of a motorway.
  • Acting for insurers in connection with a coverage dispute arising from the presence of asbestos in hardstanding.
  • Acting for insurers on an avoidance dispute in connection with alleged material non-disclosure.
  • Advising the insured on coverage where delay occurred to a stage of the project but not the project as a whole
  • For Tom’s construction professional indemnity insurance, please see the separate section of his profile.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Tom has experience advising insurers and policyholders on coverage issues under professional indemnity insurance, such as a failure to notify promptly, breach of warranty, etc.

Insurance Coverage

Tom has a wealth of experience and expertise in relation to insurance coverage. He advises insurers and policyholders on coverage issues under a variety of policies, ranging from contractors all risk to property insurance, professional indemnity, directors and officers, and others. Tom also advises in relation to consumer insurance policies.

  • Paragon Personal Finance Limited v Plevin:
    Tom has appeared (with PJ Kirby QC) in the Supreme Court in an appeal concerning the scope of the transitional provisions of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 and the recoverability of ATE premiums post 1 April 2013.
  • Acting for insurers in a dispute concerning a claim under a property damage policy (in arbitration)
  • Acted for claimants in a coverage dispute concerning a title defect policy (the case settled shortly before trial).
  • Acted for a defendant haulage company in its (successful) application to strike out a claim by its insurers for reimbursement of gratuitous payments made to victims of a car crash.
  • Advised insurers in connection with a claim arising from fire damage to farming machinery. The case dovetailed with Tom’s commercial practice, in that it involved issues arising from the machinery being (potentially) subject to a hire-purchase agreement.
  • Acted for a claimant insured in a claim against its insurer who declined to indemnify it in respect of legal costs incurred in connection with an FSA investigation.

Insurance Funded Disputes

A significant proportion of Tom’s instructions are funded by insurance, and he is often instructed on disputes where the opposing party’s costs are funded by insurance. Tom is sensitive to the commercial needs of insurers and the demands placed on solicitors who have both insurer and insured clients.

Tom has experience in subrogated recovery actions, defence-work funded by liability insurance, BTE-funded claims, and claims backed by ATE insurance.

Litigation Insurance

Tom has experience advising on coverage issues under ATE policies, and is often instructed to advise ATE and BTE insurers on the prospects of success of a claim.

Construction Professionals

Tom accepts instructions in claims for and against construction professionals. He has particular experience in architects’ negligence claims and claims against surveyors.

  • Acting for a national housing developer in a claim against an architect for failing to give effect to planning conditions
  • Advising claimants on a claim against an architect in connection with a right to light infringement
  • Advising a mortgage lender in relation to quantification of damages in a surveyor claim.
  • Fluor Ltd v (1) Ramboll Danmark A/S (2) Carl C A/S (TCC): Acted for the supplier of a meteorological mast in a defective product claim.
  • Neffendorf v Pell-Stevens: Acted for the defendant architect in connection with an allegedly defective flat roof on a newly built house.

Financial Professionals, Insolvency Professionals, Directors & Officers

Tom has a wide professional negligence practice against a variety of professionals including accountants, insurance brokers and IFAs.

Recent work 

  • Advising a mortgage lender in relation to quantification of damages in a surveyor claim.
  • Festive Productions Ltd v KPMG LLP:
    Acted for a major retailer in a multi-million pound audit negligence claim against a big four accountancy firm (led by Simon Salzedo QC of Brick Court Chambers).
  • Child v Direct Sharedeal Ltd and others:
    Acted for a stockbroker in a claim alleging financial mis-selling and breach of FCA rules.

Insurance Brokers

Tom is a contributor to Insurance Broking Practice and the Law, Informa, and has experience acting for and against insurance brokers.

Recent work

  • Clearway Drainage Systems Ltd v Miles Smith Ltd [2016] EWCA Civ 1258 (Court of Appeal):
    led by Alistair Schaff QC, Tom successfully opposed the claimant’s appeal against the first instance judge’s refusal to grant relief from sanction following the late service of witness statements.
  • Acting for a broker in a claim arising from a claim being rejected for material non-disclosure
  • Shareef v Lloyds Underwriters and others: Acting for an insurance broker in a multi-party claim arising from fire damage

Professional Liability Construction Professionals

Tom accepts instructions in claims for and against construction professionals. He has particular experience in architects’ negligence claims and claims against surveyors.

  • Acting for a national housing developer in a claim against an architect for failing to give effect to planning conditions
  • Advising claimants on a claim against an architect in connection with a right to light infringement
  • Advising a mortgage lender in relation to quantification of damages in a surveyor claim.
  • Fluor Ltd v (1) Ramboll Danmark A/S (2) Carl C A/S (TCC): Acted for the supplier of a meteorological mast in a defective product claim.
  • Neffendorf v Pell-Stevens: Acted for the defendant architect in connection with an allegedly defective flat roof on a newly built house.

Construction Insurance

For details of Tom’s construction insurance experience, please see the Insurance tab on his profile.

Costs Litigation

Tom handles a variety of costs litigation issues.

Recent Work

  • Paragon Personal Finance Limited v Plevin:
    Tom has appeared (with PJ Kirby QC) in the Supreme Court in an appeal concerning the scope of the transitional provisions of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 and the recoverability of ATE premiums post 1 April 2013.

Directory recommendations

Tom is recommended by Legal 500 for Professional Negligence.

Able to distil complex legal arguments for lay clients..’ (Legal 500)

‘He is excellent’ (Legal 500)

Professional associations

  • PNBA
  • COMBAR
  • London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association
  • BILA

Publications

  • Contributor to Paul Reed QC’s Construction All Risks Insurance, Sweet & Maxwell.
  • Contributor to Insurance Broking Practice and the Law, Informa.
  • Contributor to Paul Reed QC’s Construction Professional Indemnity Insurance, Sweet & Maxwell.

Qualifications

  • MA (Oxon) in Classics – Trinity College, Oxford
  • PGDL (Distinction)
  • BVC (Outstanding)
Menu