Before coming to the Bar, Tom worked in Citizens Advice Bureaux and a Law Centre, where he specialised in employment, discrimination and social security law.

Tom has worked with CPAG on the Rutherford 'bedroom tax' and Winder Council Tax Reduction cases and has a particular interest in work which approaches welfare rights cases from a public law angle

PERSONAL PROFILE

Tom specialises in social welfare law, especially social security (also housing, discrimination, education and immigration).  He is a public law specialist, mostly in the fields of social security, housing and migration law and has appeared in a number of leading cases in this field including Rutherford & Ors v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2016] EWCA Civ 29 (Bedroom Tax); TG v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2015] UKUT 50 (AAC) (entire A8 worker registration scheme unlawful 2009-11) and Winder & ors v Sandwell [2014] EWHC 2617 (Admin), [2015] PTSR 34 (residence requirement for council tax reduction scheme). Tom has particular expertise in EU law issues. He was the Bar European Group’s Peter Duffy scholar in 2011, and is presently instructed in several EU law cases before the Upper Tribunal and Court of Appeal. 

Tom has spoken and written widely on obtaining public funding via discrimination, public law and exceptional funding channels including in his article “Four ways to get legal aid for welfare rights problems” (Legal Action, June/July 2013).  He is cases editor for the Journal of Social Security Law and sits on the Bar Council’s Civil (Public) committee.

Before coming to the Bar, Tom worked in Citizens Advice Bureaux and a Law Centre, where he specialised in employment, discrimination and social security law. As an activist, Tom was the Sheila McKechnie Foundation UK Consumer Campaigner of the Year 2009, in recognition of a campaign he led about the cost of contacting government to claim benefits. The campaign led to a policy change affecting 35m phone calls per year and also won his bureau the national award of Campaigning CAB of the Year. He also established the  Yorkshire Tribunal Advocacy Project, which provides pro bono representation in social security tribunals.

Tom obtained a Distinction in his GDL (scoring the best results in the university in at least five years), and Outstanding in his BPTC. He won Denning, Megarry, Buchanan and Hardwicke scholarships from his Inn: see Tom's profile in Lincoln's Inn Annual Review 2012 (p21). He was the Bar European Group’s Peter Duffy Human Rights Scholar in 2011. He won the Beachcroft inter-law school Mooting Competition.

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Public law

Tom appears regularly in the High Court and Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber).  

Notable cases include:

  • Rutherford & Ors v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions  [2016] EWCA Civ 29 (27 January 2016)   : ‘bedroom tax’ test case on the absence of adequate provision for children requiring overnight care.
  • TG v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2015] UKUT 50 (AAC) (30 January 2015) [Appeal listed at Court of Appeal in February 2017 ] entire A8 worker registration scheme unlawful 2009-11; meaning of Art 17 of Directive 2004/38/EC. 
  • Winder & ors v Sandwell   [2014] EWHC 2617 (Admin) , [2015] PTSR 34: judicial review challenge to the vires of a residence requirement in a council tax reduction scheme.
  • JC v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (ESA)  [2014] UKUT 352 (AAC): meaning of ‘engagement in social contact’; importance of LAA providing ‘exceptional cases’ public funding in 3 judge panel cases.

Tom regularly acts in community care cases. He recently drafted grounds which prompted a local authority permanently to disregard the capital in a client’s home at the pre-permission stage.

He sits on the Bar Council’s Civil (Public) Panel.

Discrimination

Tom acts for individuals in public and private law discrimination claims. He appeared regularly in the Employment Tribunal before coming to the Bar and continues to do so. His expertise in discrimination law encompasses advocacy, drafting, advisory work and publication in academic journals.

Example employment law cases have included:

  • a successful settlement of a multi-party, multi-day NMW and race discrimination case at the CMD stage;
  • a successful settlement of a disability discrimination case following a one day PHR on whether the claimant’s learning difficulties amounted to a disability;
  • a mid-band  Vento  award at final hearing over a single incident of pregnancy discrimination.

Tom has a particular interest in discrimination claims against public authorities in the county court.

Housing

With a CAB background, Tom has extensive experience of advising in housing and homelessness cases. He has particular expertise in cases raising disability issues.  He has appeared in a wide range of multi-track proceedings, including ASB possession claims, rent arrears, injunction claims, unlawful eviction and disrepair.  He is experienced in representing individuals who lack capacity to litigate or to understand injunctions, including through acting for the Official Solicitor.

Notable cases include:

  • Waliezada v Dickson   [2014] 3 Legal Action 22  , a £12,000 award of damages at trial (and costs on an indemnity basis) for an unlawful eviction;
  • an emergency application for a freezing order;
  • several homelessness appeals.

Immigration

Tom appears regularly in immigration and asylum appeals. His background gives him particular expertise in claims raising EU law issues: for example he appeared in the ‘right to reside’ case of RM v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions   [2010] UKUT 238 (AAC)  which is presently on appeal to the Supreme Court; and in  TG v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions  [2015] UKUT 50 (AAC) where the entire 2009-11 worker registration scheme was held to be unlawful.

Notable cases before the UT (IAC) include:

Tom is regularly instructed to draft judicial review grounds, or grounds of appeal to the higher courts, at short notice.

Business immigration

Tom is experienced in points-based system appeals, civil penalties litigation, and advisory work to businesses and charities on immigration law compliance.

REPORTED CASES

  • TG v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2015] UKUT 50 (AAC) (30 January 2015): entire A8 worker registration scheme unlawful 2009-11; meaning of Art 17 of Directive 2004/38/EC. 
  • Winder & ors v Sandwell [2014] EWHC 2617 (Admin), [2015] PTSR 34: judicial review challenge to the vires of a residence requirement in a council tax reduction scheme.
  • Rutherford & Ors v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2014] EWHC 1631 (Admin): ‘bedroom tax’ test case on the absence of adequate provision for children requiring overnight care.
  • JC v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (ESA) [2014] UKUT 352 (AAC): meaning of ‘engagement in social contact’; importance of LAA providing ‘exceptional cases’ public funding in 3 judge panel cases.
  • Waliezada v Dickson   [2014] 3 Legal Action 22, a £12,000 award of damages at trial (and costs on an indemnity basis) for an unlawful eviction.
  • an emergency application for a freezing order.
  • several homelessness appeals.
  • SB v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2014] UKUT 495 (AAC), [2015] 3 Legal Action 32: validity of a telephone marriage when one party in UK.  
  • Hassan v SSHD [2014] UKAITUR DA007352013: exclusion from international protection.
  • TD v SSHD [2014] UKAITUR DA012692013: best interests of the child; procedural unfairness.
  • SSHD v MN [2013] UKAITUR DA009962013: Art 8 and automatic deportation. 

PUBLICATIONS & SEMINARS

'Welfare reform and housing law' paper delivered at Legal Action Group Housing Law Conference 29.6.16

Obtaining exceptional funding under LASPO ’ [August 2014] Family Law.

Winning bedroom tax cases’ [February 2014] NAWRA conference presentation.

Four ways to get legal aid for welfare rights problems’ [June 2013] Legal Action 25; [July 2013] Legal Action 39.

How to expedite a social security appeal’ (2013) 235 CPAG Welfare Rights Bulletin 9.

Making the polluter pay – costs in tribunal litigation’ (2012) 7496 New Law Journal 47.

Treating volunteers as “members of an association” and the implications for English discrimination law’ (2012) 12 International Journal of Discrimination and the Law 5.

From nought to support: setting up a volunteer-based tribunal advocacy scheme ’ (2012) 154 Adviser 10.

Agency workers and discrimination law: Muschett v HM Prison Service’ (2011) 40 Industrial Law Journal 92

MEMBERSHIPS & ASSOCIATIONS

Tom sits on the Bar Council’s Civil (Public) Panel.

CALL YEAR

2012

QUALIFICATIONS

MA (Cantab)
GDL
BPTC

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