Firm / Organisation

Tommy Thomas Advocates & Solicitors

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Partners: Tommy Thomas, Alan Gomez, Ganesan Nethi
Consultant: Sitpah Selvaratnam
Number of lawyers: 7
Languages: English, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tamil

Firm Overview:
TOMMY THOMAS provides counsel and solicitors’ services in respect of disputes, potential disputes and advisory assistance. The breadth and depth of the combined experience within the firm has positioned TOMMY THOMAS as the firm of choice in litigation, arbitration and dispute resolution. “The team is known for handling some of Malaysia’s largest and most complex cases. In addition to its outstanding track record on commercial cases, it has a strong public law practice, acting on major judicial review and constitutional matters. Also frequently sought after for major appellate work.” (Chambers Asia). TOMMY THOMAS is the only small firm in Benchmark Asia Pacific’s list of 7 “Highly Recommended Leading Disputes” firms in Malaysia.



Main Areas Of Practice:

Aviation:

■ Acting for 76 relatives of passengers on board Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 in one of the largest suits of its kind worldwide

Commercial:
■ Acted for a consortium of 7 financial institutions, in a landmark bond dispute against the issuer, lead arranger, trustee and professional advisors, and secured judgment exceeding RM200 million after a 40 day trial at the High Court
■ Acting for a state government in ongoing litigation with the Federal government for royalties relating to oil and gas revenues produced offshore
■ Acting for the sole concessionaire for school textbooks in Malaysia in a 23 day arbitration hearing brought against the government, with a value in excess of RM115 million
■ Successfully concluding the first legal challenge to the goods and services tax law; on whether the ultimate beneficiary of services is imposed with the legal liability to pay the tax

Constitutional:
■Acted for the Speaker of a state legislative assembly in a landmark Federal Court constitutional appeal which upheld the non-justiciability of acts of the Speaker in the internal administration of the assembly and discipline of members
■ Acted for a state government in successful judicial review proceedings in which the Court of Appeal set aside a declaration that a community watch organisation was an unlawful society

Construction:
■ Acting for a prominent Malaysian highway concessionaire in judicial review and land reference proceedings arising from construction on Kuala Lumpur’s 3rd tranche of ring roads
■ Acting for a major Malaysian listed construction company in numerous ongoing construction litigation and adjudication matters
■ Acting for a major oil and gas company in relation to negligent construction of a wellhead platform

Securities:
■ Acting for the Securities Commission of Malaysia in civil enforcement proceedings, for insider trading, breaches of fund manager guidelines, and fraudulent dual currency instrument and real estate-linked investment schemes
■ Successfully defended charges of market manipulation brought by the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange against a major market participant
■ Advising the Financial Markets Association of Malaysia and drafting its internal disciplinary code of conduct for financial market misconduct

Shipping:
■Counsel in a complex collision case that resulted in the sinking of a vessel. Involved towage and pilotage principles, port authority regulations, and an indemnity claim under a knock-for-knock clause under a charterparty 
■ Acting for the Indemnity provider under a Charterparty, in a litigation against the shipowner by cargo interests for alleged wrongful delivery of cargo without the presentation of the bills of lading
■ Representing a shipowner and its holding company in their ground breaking and precedent setting litigation to secure an injunction against the arrest of their ships, in circumstances of a complicated novation of charterparty rights and set-off of claims
■ Obtaining an urgent injunction as Counsel before the Malaysian Admiralty Court to prevent dealings with cargo that was the subject of arbitration in London, and parallel Court proceedings in China. This Injunctive Order was instrumental in achieving the settlement of multiple proceedings over the purchase and sale of commodities
■ Numerous arrests, and release of vessels from arrest, including one where expedited Sheriff’s consent was procured for the ship to ship transfer of cargo of fuel oil within hours of the tanker’s arrest

International:
■ Acting for a listed Malaysian oil and gas exploration company against a Swedish conglomerate in international arbitration proceedings in Switzerland under ICC Rules

Miscellaneous:
■ Throughout 2016 and 2017, the firm’s consultant Sitpah Selvaratnam as the founding president of the International Malaysian Society of Maritime Law (IMSML) worked closely and intensively with regulators, government ministries, maritime agencies and the maritime industry to identify areas of maritime law reform, trade facilitation and capacity building in Malaysia through a series of high level law review workshops, maritime law conferences and training and certification programs. She delivered numerous papers on diverse topics encompassing maritime insolvency, ship arrests and arbitration, at various international fora, including the 8th Asian Maritime Law Conference in 2016 (Singapore), IADC Regional Meeting in 2016 (Hong Kong) and ICMA Conference in 2017 (Copenhagen). Sitpah is regularly appointed as sole or presiding arbitrator in international disputes
■ In 2017, Sitpah authored the Admiralty section of the Malaysian edition of Bullen & Leake, together with two colleagues from Tommy Thomas