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Thomas Elias

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Thomas Elias

Areas of Expertise

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Year of Call: 2008 clerks@serlecourt.co.uk

Overview

Thomas has a wide-ranging commercial chancery practice with a particular emphasis on business disputes.  These frequently involve company law, breach of directors' duties, joint ventures, partnerships, insolvency and intellectual property.  He has been instructed in several High Court trials as sole counsel (Chancery Division, Technology and Construction Court, Intellectual Property Enterprise Court)  and has also been instructed as junior counsel in high value civil fraud and company cases (including in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal).  Thomas is also instructed in relation to off-shore matters, including those in Jersey, the Bahamas and the BVI.

Areas of Expertise and Cases


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Civil Fraud

Sukhoruchkin v van Bekestein: a multi-party, multi-jurisdictional dispute arising out of the management and subsequent liquidation of an off-shore investment fund. A freezing order was successfully set-aside at first instance but was reinstated by the Court of Appeal [2014] EWCA Civ 399 (instructed by Mishcon de Reya).

Monde v LeeLanes LLP (2013):  a dispute arising out of agreements to provide a power station in Iraq, involving claims for breach of contract and unlawful means conspiracy and allegations of bribery and illegality (instructed by Withers).

Viken v Tiberius Investments & Capital (2012): claims regarding alleged misuse of investment monies in an off-shore investment fund (instructed by Peters & Peters)

Architectural Association v Livett (2011): obtained a freezing injunction on behalf of claimant charity against its former finance director in relation to claims of equipment leasing fraud (instructed by Peters & Peters)

Cherney v Neuman [2011] EWHC 2156 (Ch): 12 day trial of claims for breach of fiduciary duty and negligence against a firm of solicitors (instructed by Fladgate).


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Company

Thomas is frequently instructed in company law cases. Ongoing work includes acting for a respondent to an unfair prejudice petition, set down for a 10 day trial in summer 2018 (instructed by Forsters), and acting for liquidators in potential claims against former directors (instructed by Fladgate).

Notable matters include:

Awan v Patel ​[2017] EWHC 1951 (Ch): acted for the successful defendants in a 5 day trial in the Chancery Division (leading Sophia Hurst) in a matter involving interlocking issues of company and partnership law (instructed by DLS Law)

Re Galasys plc: [2016] JRC 188: ​A multi-jurisdictional dispute over control of a (formerly) AIM-listed company.  Instructed in relation to the proceedings in Jersey (by Collas Crill).

Prince Abdulaziz v Apex Global Management [2014] UKSC 64, [2014] 1 W.L.R. 4495. ​High-profile and wide-ranging litigation regarding unfair prejudice petitions.  Appeared (with Daniel Lightman, now Q.C.) for the successful Respondents in the Supreme Court in October 2014.

Sukhoruchkin v van Bekestein: a dispute arising out of the management and subsequent liquidation of an off-shore investment fund, in which permission was sought by shareholders in a holding company to bring a double derivative claim on behalf of the subsidiary. A freezing order was successfully set-aside at first instance but was reinstated by the Court of Appeal [2014] EWCA Civ 399 (instructed by Mishcon de Reya).

Abouraya v Sigmund [2014] EWHC 277 (Ch); [2015] B.C.C. 503: a claim to bring proceedings by way of double-derivative claim on behalf of a company against a director for breach of fiduciary and tortious duties (instructed by Asserson Law Offices).

Amin v Amin [2009] EWHC 3356 (Ch).  Assisted in a lengthy High Court trial involving an unfair prejudice petition and issues of partnership law.


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Intellectual Property

Thomas has appeared in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, the High Court and the European Court in intellectual property disputes relating to trade marks, registered and unregistered designs, passing off and copyright.    He has also appeared in the Trade Marks Registry and before the Appointed Person.  As well as dealing with pure I.P. matters, Thomas has been involved in several commercial cases which have an intellectual property element.  Significant cases include:

​M.I. Industries, Inc. v EUIPO (Natural Instinct Ltd intervening) T-30/16. ​Solely instructed in a successful appeal to the General Court in a trade mark matter regarding proof of use (instructed by Lucas & Co).

​Gama Healthcare v Pal International [2016] EWHC 75 (IPEC).  Successfully acted for the defendant in a claim for passing off based on packaging of medical wipes (with Roger Wyand Q.C.) (instructed by Spearing Waite).

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain v Clausen & another [2015] E.T.M.R. 40, [2015] EWHC 1772 (IPEC).  Acted for the defendants in a claim for passing off, trade mark infringement and infringement of copyright in dramatic works, and successfully invalidated the claimant’s Community trade mark. Also resisted an early application for an interim injunction [2014] EWHC 3789 (IPEC) (instructed by Fladgate LLP).

Karen Millen Fashions v Karen Millen OBE [2014] EWHC 1408 & 1409 (Ch): Acted for Claimant successfully resisting a strike-out application and obtaining permission for survey evidence (instructed by Heatons).

Moroccanoil Israel Ltd v Aldi Stores [2014] EWHC 1686 (IPEC) - successfully defended Aldi in a passing-off action based on packaging "get-up" (with Michael Edenborough Q.C.) (instructed by Freeths).

Aveda Corp v Dabur India Ltd  [2013] E.T.M.R. 33 – appeal to the High Court from the Trade Mark Registry involving the issue of the correct analysis of composite trade marks (instructed by Cresco Legal).

Kavaklidere-Europe v OHIM [2012] E.T.M.R. 45 - Acted with Michael Edenborough Q.C. in proceedings in the General Court of the European Union on behalf of Yakult Honsha Kabushiki Kaisha successfully opposing the registration as a Community Trade Mark of a word mark similar to the client's mark "YAKULT".

Smart Technologies v OHIM [2012] E.T.M.R. 49 - Appeared with Michael Edenborough Q.C. on an appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union on a trade mark matter. Addresses issues regarding the registrability of slogans as Community Trade Marks.

Pass J Holdings Ltd v Spencer, Trade Marks Registry (Appointed Person), [2012] R.P.C. 16 Appeal, inter alia, on the basis that the original decision was vitiated by serious errors arising from the Hearing Officer cutting and pasting from an earlier decision.

Harrison v Harrison [2010] FSR 25, 604, one of few reported cases on the moral rights of derogatory treatment and false attribution.

Evans (t/a Firecraft) v Focal Point Fires Plc [2010] E.T.M.R. 29; [2010] R.P.C. 15, summary judgment on a passing off claim based on an estoppel arising from an invalidation decision of the trade mark Registry.


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Commercial Litigation

Erith Holdings Limited & Ors v Ronald William Murphy [2017] EWHC 1364 (TCC): successfully acted for the defendant in a 3 day trial in the Technology & Construction Court, resisting claims for monies said to be due under a contract of indemnity.

Office Depot Inc v Office Depot (Israel) (2013): instructed as sole counsel in a dispute in the High Court regarding monies due under a contract of sale of a subsidiary company in Israel, with counterclaims of misrepresentation, involving jurisdiction issues in light of related proceedings in Israel (instructed by Meyer Brown)

Water’s Edge v Laing (2013): several interlocking claims in the Bahamas brought in relation to an alleged property joint venture.

Hess v Stena (The Stena Forth) (2010): instructed on a matte regarding the interpretation of a contract for hire of a mobile offshore drilling unit.


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Insolvency

Thomas is regularly instructed in insolvency matters.  Recent instructions include advising liquidators on potential claims against former directors for breach of duty, acting for an on-line trading platform in high value bankrutpcy proceedings, and advising in directors disqualification proceedings.

Notable matters include:

Re Crosscastle (in liquidation)​: acted for liquidators in a dispute over the valuation of goodwill attaching to a lease (unreported, but see article in Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, Vol. 31 no. 7 (2016)).

Tiberius Investments & Capital Limited v Viken Securities Inc. BVIHC (COM) 57 OF 2012: instructed for a one day hearing in the BVI Commercial Court to set aside a Statutory Demand (instructed by Peters & Peters).

Pace Europe Ltd v Dunham [2012] EWHC 852 (Ch); [2012] BPIR 836: an appeal to the High Court against an order setting aside a statutory demand as it was based on an order of a United States court for multiple damages (instructed by Premier Solicitors).




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Offshore

Thomas has acted in contentious trust disputes involving trusts in Jersey and Mauritius, was instructed in connection with the Jersey element of a multi-jurisdictional company law dispute, and continues to be instructed in connection with numerous cases in The Bahamas.  Thomas was called to the bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in 2013 and has appeared in the BVI commercial court.   

  • Currently acting for a Mauritius Trust in litigation regarding land development.
  • Instructed in relation to company law litigation in Jersey:  ​Re Galasys plc [2016] JRC 188 (instructed by Collas Crill)
  • Ongoing advice to clients in The Bahamas regarding the 2015 VAT legislation.
  • Involved in several cases, both private law and judicial review, regarding the meaning and effect of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement, under which Freeport was established (instructed by Callenders & Co)
  • Previously acted for a Jersey Trustee in relation to allegations of negligence in managing an investment fund (instructed by Voisin).
  • Tiberius Investments & Capital Limited v Viken Securities Inc. BVIHC (COM) 57 OF 2012: hearing in the BVI Commercial Court , insolvency issue in the context of a multi-million dollar hedge fund dispute (instructed by Peters & Peters).

All Quotes

"He's exceptionally bright, good on the detail and won't miss a point": Chambers and Partners 2016

"He is so persuasive in writing, he can fashion something out of nothing.": Chambers and Partners 2016

Recommendations

Company (Chambers and Partners 2017)

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Thomas Elias

Thomas Elias

Year of Call: 2008

Overview

Thomas has a wide-ranging commercial chancery practice with a particular emphasis on business disputes.  These frequently involve company law, breach of directors' duties, joint ventures, partnerships, insolvency and intellectual property.  He has been instructed in several High Court trials as sole counsel (Chancery Division, Technology and Construction Court, Intellectual Property Enterprise Court)  and has also been instructed as junior counsel in high value civil fraud and company cases (including in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal).  Thomas is also instructed in relation to off-shore matters, including those in Jersey, the Bahamas and the BVI.

Areas of expertise

Recommendations

Company (Chambers and Partners 2017)

Quotes

"He's exceptionally bright, good on the detail and won't miss a point": Chambers and Partners 2016

"He is so persuasive in writing, he can fashion something out of nothing.": Chambers and Partners 2016

Civil Fraud

Sukhoruchkin v van Bekestein: a multi-party, multi-jurisdictional dispute arising out of the management and subsequent liquidation of an off-shore investment fund. A freezing order was successfully set-aside at first instance but was reinstated by the Court of Appeal [2014] EWCA Civ 399 (instructed by Mishcon de Reya).

Monde v LeeLanes LLP (2013):  a dispute arising out of agreements to provide a power station in Iraq, involving claims for breach of contract and unlawful means conspiracy and allegations of bribery and illegality (instructed by Withers).

Viken v Tiberius Investments & Capital (2012): claims regarding alleged misuse of investment monies in an off-shore investment fund (instructed by Peters & Peters)

Architectural Association v Livett (2011): obtained a freezing injunction on behalf of claimant charity against its former finance director in relation to claims of equipment leasing fraud (instructed by Peters & Peters)

Cherney v Neuman [2011] EWHC 2156 (Ch): 12 day trial of claims for breach of fiduciary duty and negligence against a firm of solicitors (instructed by Fladgate).

Company

Thomas is frequently instructed in company law cases. Ongoing work includes acting for a respondent to an unfair prejudice petition, set down for a 10 day trial in summer 2018 (instructed by Forsters), and acting for liquidators in potential claims against former directors (instructed by Fladgate).

Notable matters include:

Awan v Patel ​[2017] EWHC 1951 (Ch): acted for the successful defendants in a 5 day trial in the Chancery Division (leading Sophia Hurst) in a matter involving interlocking issues of company and partnership law (instructed by DLS Law)

Re Galasys plc: [2016] JRC 188: ​A multi-jurisdictional dispute over control of a (formerly) AIM-listed company.  Instructed in relation to the proceedings in Jersey (by Collas Crill).

Prince Abdulaziz v Apex Global Management [2014] UKSC 64, [2014] 1 W.L.R. 4495. ​High-profile and wide-ranging litigation regarding unfair prejudice petitions.  Appeared (with Daniel Lightman, now Q.C.) for the successful Respondents in the Supreme Court in October 2014.

Sukhoruchkin v van Bekestein: a dispute arising out of the management and subsequent liquidation of an off-shore investment fund, in which permission was sought by shareholders in a holding company to bring a double derivative claim on behalf of the subsidiary. A freezing order was successfully set-aside at first instance but was reinstated by the Court of Appeal [2014] EWCA Civ 399 (instructed by Mishcon de Reya).

Abouraya v Sigmund [2014] EWHC 277 (Ch); [2015] B.C.C. 503: a claim to bring proceedings by way of double-derivative claim on behalf of a company against a director for breach of fiduciary and tortious duties (instructed by Asserson Law Offices).

Amin v Amin [2009] EWHC 3356 (Ch).  Assisted in a lengthy High Court trial involving an unfair prejudice petition and issues of partnership law.

Intellectual Property

Thomas has appeared in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, the High Court and the European Court in intellectual property disputes relating to trade marks, registered and unregistered designs, passing off and copyright.    He has also appeared in the Trade Marks Registry and before the Appointed Person.  As well as dealing with pure I.P. matters, Thomas has been involved in several commercial cases which have an intellectual property element.  Significant cases include:

​M.I. Industries, Inc. v EUIPO (Natural Instinct Ltd intervening) T-30/16. ​Solely instructed in a successful appeal to the General Court in a trade mark matter regarding proof of use (instructed by Lucas & Co).

​Gama Healthcare v Pal International [2016] EWHC 75 (IPEC).  Successfully acted for the defendant in a claim for passing off based on packaging of medical wipes (with Roger Wyand Q.C.) (instructed by Spearing Waite).

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain v Clausen & another [2015] E.T.M.R. 40, [2015] EWHC 1772 (IPEC).  Acted for the defendants in a claim for passing off, trade mark infringement and infringement of copyright in dramatic works, and successfully invalidated the claimant’s Community trade mark. Also resisted an early application for an interim injunction [2014] EWHC 3789 (IPEC) (instructed by Fladgate LLP).

Karen Millen Fashions v Karen Millen OBE [2014] EWHC 1408 & 1409 (Ch): Acted for Claimant successfully resisting a strike-out application and obtaining permission for survey evidence (instructed by Heatons).

Moroccanoil Israel Ltd v Aldi Stores [2014] EWHC 1686 (IPEC) - successfully defended Aldi in a passing-off action based on packaging "get-up" (with Michael Edenborough Q.C.) (instructed by Freeths).

Aveda Corp v Dabur India Ltd  [2013] E.T.M.R. 33 – appeal to the High Court from the Trade Mark Registry involving the issue of the correct analysis of composite trade marks (instructed by Cresco Legal).

Kavaklidere-Europe v OHIM [2012] E.T.M.R. 45 - Acted with Michael Edenborough Q.C. in proceedings in the General Court of the European Union on behalf of Yakult Honsha Kabushiki Kaisha successfully opposing the registration as a Community Trade Mark of a word mark similar to the client's mark "YAKULT".

Smart Technologies v OHIM [2012] E.T.M.R. 49 - Appeared with Michael Edenborough Q.C. on an appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union on a trade mark matter. Addresses issues regarding the registrability of slogans as Community Trade Marks.

Pass J Holdings Ltd v Spencer, Trade Marks Registry (Appointed Person), [2012] R.P.C. 16 Appeal, inter alia, on the basis that the original decision was vitiated by serious errors arising from the Hearing Officer cutting and pasting from an earlier decision.

Harrison v Harrison [2010] FSR 25, 604, one of few reported cases on the moral rights of derogatory treatment and false attribution.

Evans (t/a Firecraft) v Focal Point Fires Plc [2010] E.T.M.R. 29; [2010] R.P.C. 15, summary judgment on a passing off claim based on an estoppel arising from an invalidation decision of the trade mark Registry.

Commercial Litigation

Erith Holdings Limited & Ors v Ronald William Murphy [2017] EWHC 1364 (TCC): successfully acted for the defendant in a 3 day trial in the Technology & Construction Court, resisting claims for monies said to be due under a contract of indemnity.

Office Depot Inc v Office Depot (Israel) (2013): instructed as sole counsel in a dispute in the High Court regarding monies due under a contract of sale of a subsidiary company in Israel, with counterclaims of misrepresentation, involving jurisdiction issues in light of related proceedings in Israel (instructed by Meyer Brown)

Water’s Edge v Laing (2013): several interlocking claims in the Bahamas brought in relation to an alleged property joint venture.

Hess v Stena (The Stena Forth) (2010): instructed on a matte regarding the interpretation of a contract for hire of a mobile offshore drilling unit.

Insolvency

Thomas is regularly instructed in insolvency matters.  Recent instructions include advising liquidators on potential claims against former directors for breach of duty, acting for an on-line trading platform in high value bankrutpcy proceedings, and advising in directors disqualification proceedings.

Notable matters include:

Re Crosscastle (in liquidation)​: acted for liquidators in a dispute over the valuation of goodwill attaching to a lease (unreported, but see article in Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, Vol. 31 no. 7 (2016)).

Tiberius Investments & Capital Limited v Viken Securities Inc. BVIHC (COM) 57 OF 2012: instructed for a one day hearing in the BVI Commercial Court to set aside a Statutory Demand (instructed by Peters & Peters).

Pace Europe Ltd v Dunham [2012] EWHC 852 (Ch); [2012] BPIR 836: an appeal to the High Court against an order setting aside a statutory demand as it was based on an order of a United States court for multiple damages (instructed by Premier Solicitors).

Offshore

Thomas has acted in contentious trust disputes involving trusts in Jersey and Mauritius, was instructed in connection with the Jersey element of a multi-jurisdictional company law dispute, and continues to be instructed in connection with numerous cases in The Bahamas.  Thomas was called to the bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in 2013 and has appeared in the BVI commercial court.   

  • Currently acting for a Mauritius Trust in litigation regarding land development.
  • Instructed in relation to company law litigation in Jersey:  ​Re Galasys plc [2016] JRC 188 (instructed by Collas Crill)
  • Ongoing advice to clients in The Bahamas regarding the 2015 VAT legislation.
  • Involved in several cases, both private law and judicial review, regarding the meaning and effect of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement, under which Freeport was established (instructed by Callenders & Co)
  • Previously acted for a Jersey Trustee in relation to allegations of negligence in managing an investment fund (instructed by Voisin).
  • Tiberius Investments & Capital Limited v Viken Securities Inc. BVIHC (COM) 57 OF 2012: hearing in the BVI Commercial Court , insolvency issue in the context of a multi-million dollar hedge fund dispute (instructed by Peters & Peters).

Qualifications

Kings College, Cambridge: BA (English) Double first class honours; MPhil; PhD (16th century music and literature)

City University: GDL (distinction)

Inns of Court School of Law: BVC (outstanding)

Scarman Scholarship (1st overall in BVC at ICSL)

OUP prize for advocacy and procedure in BVC

Inner Temple Major Scholarship

ICSL Scholarship

Appointments

Called to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (BVI) (2013)


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