‘He has a good eye for the detail but also keeps the bigger picture in mind.’

Legal 500

Thomas Cordrey

Year of Call: 2006

‘He has a good eye for the detail but also keeps the bigger picture in mind.’

Legal 500

Thomas Cordrey

Year of Call: 2006

‘He has a good eye for the detail but also keeps the bigger picture in mind.’

Legal 500

Thomas Cordrey

Year of Call: 2006

Thomas Cordrey

‘He has a good eye for the detail but also keeps the bigger picture in mind.’

Legal 500

Thomas Cordrey

Year of Call: 2006

According to the directories Thomas Cordrey undertakes a significant amount of appellate advocacy and is described as “very able, intelligent and tactical; he has very impressive advocacy skills and the ability to navigate complex technical legal arguments." "He's very sensitive to the client's needs and his advice is always clear and concise." (Employment, Chambers UK 2021).

In the same directory he is known for "immaculate preparation and excellent advocacy." "He is very calm, measured and reassuring to work with." (Employment, Chambers UK 2020). "A fantastic junior who is meticulous in his preparation and an excellent advocate. He gives good, clear advice." "Responsive and easy to work with" (Employment, Chambers UK 2019).

According to Legal 500 Thomas is “technically excellent and very quick thinking on his feet” (2021), and has also been described as someone who “prepares thoroughly and is clear, positive and confident in the delivery of his advice” (2020) and "has a good eye for the detail but also keeps the bigger picture in mind" (2019).

  • Recommendations

    Has established a strong employment practice, with notable expertise in complex TUPE issues and discrimination cases. He undertakes a significant amount of appellate advocacy. "He's very able, intelligent and tactical; he has very impressive advocacy skills and the ability to navigate complex technical legal arguments." "He's very sensitive to the client's needs and his advice is always clear and concise." Acted for the respondent in Gould v St John's Downshire Hill, an unusual marriage discrimination case. - Employment, Chambers UK Bar 2021

    'Technically excellent and very quick thinking on his feet’ - Employment, Legal 500 2021. 

    "Immaculate preparation and excellent advocacy." "He is very calm, measured and reassuring to work with." Acted unled in the Court of Appeal for the Secretary of State for Health, in a case concerning the approach to take when a claim has been made in both the Employment Tribunal and the High Court. - Employment, Chambers UK 2020

    ‘Highly impressive up and coming junior counsel. He prepares thoroughly and is clear, positive and confident in the delivery of his advice.’ - Employment, Legal 500 2020

    "A fantastic junior who is meticulous in his preparation and an excellent advocate. He gives good, clear advice." "Responsive and easy to work with." Represented the respondent in De Souza v Vinci Construction, a Court of Appeal case which determined that a 10% uplift must be applied to the compensation of all successful discrimination claimants. - Employment, Chambers UK 2019

    "He has a good eye for the detail but also keeps the bigger picture in mind." - Employment, Legal 500 2019

    "He is pragmatic in his advice and highly organised." - Employment, Legal 500 2017

    Sources highlight his impressive advocacy in tribunal settings, most notably how he clearly delivers his submissions and arguments. "He does not browbeat witnesses but can secure confessions from them by tactical questioning, and he has a very good manner with the tribunal." "He is extremely well organised; he gives first-rate legal analysis and his structured application to cases enables him to assimilate very complex facts." Acted in a highly complex TUPE case on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health that considered an important estoppel point. The case has been heard in both the High Court and the EAT. - Employment, Chambers UK 2017

    "Very approachable, clever and a pleasure to deal with." - Employment, Legal 500 2016

    Acts for a range of significant clients in employment disputes, both in tribunal and at the High Court. Highly praised for his intelligent, meticulous approach to issues, he acts for both claimants and respondents. "His first-rate legal analysis allows him to assimilate very complex facts. He is extremely intelligent, calm and measured." "Thorough, approachable and easy to work with." Acted successfully in a lengthy disability discrimination claim, appearing on behalf of the respondent, British Telecom. - Employment, Chambers UK 2016

    An up-and-coming employment barrister with complementary expertise in personal injury and commercial law. He acts at all levels, and has undertaken significant work in the High Court and EAT. "He's very gentle, which is good with clients." "He is very clear about his analysis of things, and when necessary he will go away and sift evidence. He's very organised in his approach." Advised the appellant in Northbert Dentressangle v Hutton, a case concerning the limitation period for bringing an unfair dismissal claim. - Employment, Chambers UK 2015

    Practises across the entire employment spectrum, but is best known for his work on religious discrimination. He is credited by sources for his impressive style of advocacy. "Very good on discrimination cases, he's able to absorb and analyse a lot of complex detail very quickly." He was involved in McFarlane v Relate Avon, a religious discrimination case. - Employment, Chambers UK 2014

  • Employment

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    Thomas’ practice encompasses the full employment spectrum. He is author of the Practice and Procedure Division of Harvey on Industrial Relations and Employment Law, has appeared over 25 times in the EAT and is experienced in the Court of Appeal. In the Court of Appeal Underhill LJ described being assisted by Thomas’ “clear and focused skeleton argument and oral submissions” and Gross LJ paid “tribute to the logical and cogent argument advanced by Mr Cordrey". Thomas has acted for high-profile claimants and respondents, including in sensitive cases requiring anonymity and restricted reporting orders. Thomas is experienced in multi-day High Court litigation and familiar with the Civil Procedure Rules due to his cross-over commercial practice. He regularly acts, unled, in cases against silks, recent examples including Karon Monahan QC, Chris Jeans QC, Paul Nicholls QC and Clive Sheldon QC.

    Further information about Thomas’ practice:

     

    • EAT: Thomas has appeared over 25 times in the EAT in England and Scotland, including cases in front of the last three Presidents of the EAT. Underhill P described Thomas' submissions as "cogent" and "clear and helpful" in McFarlane v Relate Avon Plc [2010] ICR 507 and according to Simler P Thomas "made helpful, cogent submissions" in British Gas v Price (2016) UKEAT/0326/15/DM and provided “able assistance” both “orally and in writing” in Gould v Trustees of St John Downshire Hill (2017) UKEAT/0115/17.

     

    • High Court: Thomas is familiar with High Court litigation and civil procedure thanks to his complementary expertise in commercial law. He has acted in multi-day High Court employment trials including Grainger v North East London NHS Foundation Trust [2017] EWHC 2254 (QB); [2017] IRLR 981 (a four day High Court breach of contract claim) and Srivatsa v Secretary of State for Health [2016] EWHC 2916 (QB); [2017] ICR D5, a complicated 3 day High Court trial in a case where Thomas also acted in several interlocutory hearings before High Court Masters, an appeal in the High Court an appeal in the EAT and an appeal in the Court of Appeal.

     

    • Complex Tribunal litigation: Thomas is experienced in complex Tribunal litigation. He has acted in numerous multi-week trials including De Souza v Vinci Construction Ltd, which involved five Tribunal claims resulting in three Preliminary Hearings, an eleven day liability trial, a three day remedy hearing, a costs hearing, eight appeals to the EAT and two hearings in the Court of Appeal. Thomas has also acted for Hewlett Packard and BNP Paribas amongst other clients in highly complex multi-claim cases (the latter involving a claim in which the Claimant’s list of issues initially ran to 80 pages).

     

    • High-profile claimants: Thomas is used to acting for high profile claimants including in relation to sensitive cases such as those involving historical harassment allegations and #metoo claims. Thomas is well versed in the procedures relating to anonymity and restricted reporting. Recent high-profile clients include a well-known Queen’s Counsel, a UK billionaire and a very high net-worth property magnate.

     

    • Multi-sector respondents: Thomas has represented a full range of Respondents including investment and retail banks, global technology companies, energy sector, telecommunications, media organisations and public sector bodies including the NHS and Metropolitan Police.

     

    • Discrimination, whistleblowing & TUPE claims: As shown by his reported cases and directory recommendations, Thomas has broad experience in employment law. He is particularly known for complex discrimination, whistleblowing and TUPE cases.

     

    • Restrictive covenants and injunctive relief: Thomas has experience advising on restrictive covenant issues including (in the business to business context) advising a prestigious 5 Star London Hotel and (in the employment context) advising a leading estate agency brand. He has advised on springboard injunctive relief, non-solicitation and non-dealing clauses and the drafting of clauses to protect legitimate business interests.

     

    • County Court: Thomas is experienced in the County Court: as well as numerous breach of contract claims, Thomas has advised on and/or appeared in claims under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and breach of the goods and services provisions of the Equality Act 2010.

     

    • Employment / Personal Injury crossover: Thomas’ background in personal injury claims provides him with a good foundation for stress at work cases and discrimination cases with a substantial personal injury element.

     

    • England, Scotland, Wales and Hong Kong: Thomas has practised in Tribunals in England, Scotland and Wales and has been instructed in multi-party employment litigation in the Hong Kong Labour Tribunal. Thomas is familiar with the different procedural position in Scotland, having acted in trials in various Scottish Tribunals including Inverness and Glasgow and having appeared several times in the Scottish EAT.

     

     

    Memberships: Thomas is a member of ELA and ELBA. He is also a member of the Bar Council’s Legislation & Guidance sub-group.

  • Human Rights

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    Thomas specialises in the application of human rights laws to a range of areas with a particular focus on the right to freedom of religion and the right to freedom of expression. Thomas is currently representing clients including Noah Carl, the Cambridge academic dismissed from his post after students protested about his right-wing views, and also a CEO of a multi-million pound charity dismissed after letting out charity property to an orthodox Christian denomination. Thomas has advised numerous charities on issues arising from the Equality Act 2010 and other legislation such as the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, considering their effect on religious service providers. He has advised the Metropolitan Police Service on the correct approach to its uniform policy in light of the Equality Act and has advised on the application of Articles 9 & 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights to judicial review of decisions restraining freedom of religious expression.

    Examples of Thomas’ cases include: acting for a church defending a claim by a vicar in one of the few marriage discrimination claims to reach the EAT (Gould v St John’s [2020] All ER (D) 92, EAT and Gould v Trustees of St John Downshire Hill (2017) UKEAT/0115/17); representing a Christian teacher who was under threat of being struck off after making public posts on Facebook, some of which related to his religious beliefs (Evans v General Teaching Council for Wales (2014)); representing a Claimant in a multi-day unfair dismissal and religious discrimination claim relating to prosyletism (Amachree v Wandsworth LBC [2010] EqLR 254 ET); and acting as junior counsel for a Relate counsellor who had been dismissed for declining to provide certain therapies because of his religious beliefs (McFarlane v Relate Avon Plc [2010] ICR 507).

    Thomas is co-author of a report on freedom of speech and freedom of religion which the then Prime Minister referred to during PMQs in the House of Commons, welcoming the report and quoting Thomas’ words that freedom of religion is a ‘jealously guarded principle’. The report received coverage in the Telegraph and other national press.

    Thomas was previously author of Bloomsbury Professional's Discrimination Law chapter on religious exceptions to the Equality Act 2010 and he sat on the Bar Council's Equality & Diversity Committee for a number of years – he is now part of the Bar Council's Legislation & Guidance Committee. Thomas drafted the Bar Council’s briefing on the Equality Act 2010 and the Bar Council’s Tackling Sexual Harassment Guide. He has spoken internationally on the topics of human rights and religious discrimination and has spent time working with NGOs at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

    Thomas also has extensive media experience in this field and has been interviewed on BBC1, BBC News 24, CNN and Channel 4 and on Radio 4's Today Programme and Radio 5 Live. He was featured in The Lawyer, commenting on the European Court of Human Rights' landmark decision in Eweida. He has also had a number of articles published in the Employment Lawyers Association briefing on this topic.

  • Commercial Litigation

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    Thomas has experience of advising on and acting in a range of commercial law proceedings in both the Court of Appeal, High Court and County Courts.

    In 2017 Thomas appeared in the Court of Appeal as junior counsel in Toombs v Bridging Loans [2017] EWCA Civ 205, instructed by a lender in a case arising out of a valuer's negligence. The case concerned the Nykredit line of authority, considering the largely untested question of how to assess the date of damage in security valuation claims. Thomas previously appeared, unled, in the High Court appeal (Bridging Loans Limited v Toombs [2014] EWHC 4566 (QB)) and at the first instance hearing in front of the High Court Master.

    In the last 12 months Thomas has also appeared, unled, in a four day High Court breach of contract trial in Grainger v North East London NHS Foundation Trust [2017] EWHC 2254 (QB); [2017] IRLR 981 and represented the Secretary of State for Health in a 3 day High Court breach of contract estoppel and res judicata case (Srivatsa v Secretary of State for Health [2016] EWHC 2916 (QB); [2017] ICR D5). The Srivatsa case has already been applied in 2017 by the High Court in Treetop Investment LLC v Falmouth House Freehold Co Ltd [2017] EWHC 674 (Ch). The Court of Appeal, Lewison LJ, has given the Claimant permission to appeal the Srivatsa decision and the appeal will be heard in 2018. In the Srivatsa litigation Thomas also acted in several interlocutory hearings before High Court Masters and an appeal in the High Court.

    In 2017 Thomas has been instructed as junior counsel for the Claimant on a high value professional negligence action relating to tax advice on a corporate transaction and has also acted for the claimant in the pre-action stages of a solicitors’ negligence claim.

    In 2016 Thomas was instructed in a High Court dispute concerning the refusal of a global insurance company to allow an insured to instruct an international law firm under the terms of before-the-event legal expenses insurance. This is one in a long series of cases Thomas has acted in following his instruction as junior counsel at both High Court (Brown Quinn v Equity Syndicate [2011] EWHC 2661 (Comm); [2012] 1 All E.R. 778) and Court of Appeal in Brown-Quinn v Equity Syndicate Management Ltd [2012] EWCA Civ 1633; [2013] 1 WLR 1740, described by Burton J as a "test case" on the application of LEI. The case created widespread interest in the legal market and media including articles in The Lawyer, Law Gazette and The Post Online.

    Other examples of Thomas' insurance law practice include, in 2017, advising a Claimant on his position under the Third Parties (Rights Against Insurers) Act 2010 and in 2016, representing Allianz Insurance plc at a contested hearing in the Mercantile Court and advising Arag plc on a defence to a claim relating to an untested provision of the Insurance Companies (Legal Expenses Insurance) Regulations 1990.

    Further cases in which Thomas has acted include W v HC where he represented the executor of an estate in a High Court breach of contract claim which resulted in a six figure settlement; Aslam v Camelot plc in which he represented the Defendant in a Norwich Pharmacal application by the Claimant for disclosure of the details of a National Lottery winner; Penycate v Wembley National Stadium in which he represented Wembley stadium in a County Court breach of contract claim; and Revenue & Customs Comrs v Benchdollar [2009] EWHC 1310 (Ch) [2010] 1 All E.R. 174 in which he acted as second junior counsel for HMRC at the pre-trial stages of a multi million pound NIC claim.

    Thomas also has experience of acting in cases under the Arbitration Act 1996 and has received in-house arbitration training and in-house mediation training. He is a member of COMBAR and PNBA.

    In relation to COMBAR Thomas sits on the Equality & Diversity Committee and has previously attended the North America conference, assisting Colin Edelman QC speaking on the topic of the Bermuda Form.

  • Insurance & Reinsurance

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    Thomas advises and acts in a range of insurance disputes. For example, he has acted in a long series on the scope of an insured’s right to choose their own lawyer under a policy of legal expenses insurance. In a recent example, Thomas was instructed in a High Court dispute concerning the refusal of a global insurance company to allow an insured to instruct an international law firm under the terms of before-the-event legal expenses insurance. Thomas was junior counsel, led by Colin Wynter QC, acting for the Claimants in the 2 day High Court trial of Brown Quinn v Equity Syndicate [2011] EWHC 2661 (Comm); [2012] 1 All E.R. 778, described by Burton J as a "test case" in the LEI field.

    Thomas remained instructed as junior counsel when the Defendants appealed to the Court of Appeal where the Law Society received permission to intervene on behalf of the Claimants, and three of Europe's leading insurance companies intervened on behalf of the Defendants. The decision by the appellate court (Brown-Quinn v Equity Syndicate Management Ltd [2012] EWCA Civ 1633; [2013] 1 WLR 1740) remains the leading domestic authority and attracted widespread interest in the legal market and media including in articles in The Lawyer, Law Gazette and The Post Online.

    Other examples of Thomas' insurance law practice include, in 2017, advising a Claimant on his position under the Third Parties (Rights Against Insurers) Act 2010 (including in relation to the complicated transitional provisions and the insurer’s right to rely on a notification defence). In 2016 Thomas represented Allianz Insurance plc at a contested hearing in the Mercantile Court and advised Arag plc on a defence to a claim relating to an untested provision of the Insurance Companies (Legal Expenses Insurance) Regulations 1990 (Hardwicke Motor Company Limited v Arag plc (3YM24927)).

    Thomas has also advised in relation to losses recoverable under a home insurance policy following the insurer's efforts to avoid the policy for non-disclosure. The advice covered complex matters around recoverability of remote losses and the limits of recovery under the Ombudsman scheme. Separately he has issued an application under section 18 of the Arbitration Act 1996 on behalf of a client following an insurer's refusal to pay out for damage to vintage cars assessed by a joint expert.

    Thomas is an active member of COMBAR, he sits on the Equality & Diversity Committee, has previously attended the North American COMBAR conference and has spoken to law students at the annual Lincoln's Inn pupillage fair, giving an introduction to commercial law.

  • Professional Negligence

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    Thomas acts in a range of professional negligence disputes, some involving a cross-over with his employment specialism. 2020 cases include representing a multi-million pound property company counter-claiming in negligence against solicitors, and representing a CEO in a claim against an international law firm – both of which were successfully settled at mediation. Thomas has also recently acted as junior to Jolyon Maugham QC in a complex tax negligence case relating to negligent accountancy advice on intangibles relief. A common source of instruction relates to failure to meet limitation periods in the short timescale of statutory employment claims.

    Thomas was instructed as junior counsel in the Court of Appeal in Toombs v Bridging Loans [2017] EWCA Civ 205 in a case in which he had appeared unled at the first instance hearing in front of the High Court Master and in the appeal before HHJ Seymour QC ([2014] EWHC 4566 (QB)). In that case Thomas was instructed by the lender in a claim which arose out of valuer's negligence. The case concerned the Nykredit line of authority, and considered the question of how to assess the date of damage in security valuation claims.

    Thomas is experienced in drafting letters of claim and responseparticulars of claim and defences and advising on the prospects of success in, for example, PI claims covering solicitors and valuers. Issues commonly addressed cover duty, breach, causation and contributory negligence in relation to various transactions and loans, raising questions of interpretation of the terms of deeds, facility letters and other contractual documentation.

    Thomas has lectured on potential claims against intermediaries / brokers and specifically looked at the possible expansion in the role of breach of fiduciary duty in this context. He has also spoken at seminars on current developments in lawyer's negligence claims and he also spoken on the complex SAAMCO litigation – and has advised an investment company considering an action against a law firm for negligence in relation to a large transaction.

    Thomas has previously acted in relation to surveyors. An example of cross-over from his employment practice is Richardson v Copley Clark & Bennett LLP (UKEAT/0866/09) in which Thomas won permission to appeal from HHJ Peter Clarke in a case centring on the reasonable standards expected of a solicitor in a complex conveyance. Thomas also has experience of advising vis-a-vis the practice of solicitors in personal injury work - most recently considering failure to plead certain heads of loss in a valuable claim. In other areas Thomas has, for example, represented a defendant payroll provider in a County Court claim alleging failure to meet the reasonable standards of that profession (Irenicon v Integrated Solutions).

    Thomas is a member of the PNBA.

  • Personal Injury

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    As well as drafting pleadings and settling schedules, Thomas advises on fast track and multi track cases in relation to liability and quantum. He also accepts instructions to appear at inquests. Thomas is a PIBA member.

    Thomas' recent cases include:

    • McKeever v Motorsport Vision & ors (2011) (represented the Claimant in two High Court CMCs, dealing with issues such as expert evidence)
    • Dey v NYK Logistics (2010) (acted for the paralysed victim of a multi-vehicle RTA at the inquest into the death of another driver)
    • Smeaton v Ministry of Defence (2010) (represented the Claimant in a multi track claim for PTSD, opposing an application by the Defendant to rely on expert evidence rather than the Ogden life multiplier)
    • White v CICA (2010) (represented the appellant  - the victim of an assault by off-duty police officers - in an appeal against the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority)
    • Earey v Ascot Racecourse Ltd & Anderson Ltd (2009) (represented the Claimant defending an application for Part 20 costs)
    • R Lal v London Brick Co (2009) (represented the Applicant in an application for pre-action disclosure)
    • W Brown v Birmingham CC (2008) (represented the Claimant in 2 day multi-track case in which the Claimant was awarded £25,000)

Memberships and Associations

ELA, ELBA, PNBA

Awards and Scholarships

Kemp-Gooderson Scholarship

Lincoln's Inn Hardwicke Scholarship

Lincoln's Inn Tancred Studentship

Cambridge University Squire Scholarship

Adderley Prize for Law

Mrs Payne (1610) Scholarship

Education

Bar Vocational Course at BPP Law School, London

MA (Law) (Cantab) at St Catharine's College, University of Cambridge

Personal Interests

Thomas is a member of the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship: "Seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God" (Micah 6:8)