A former Head of Chambers, Sir Stephen Tomlinson was in practice as a barrister at 7 King’s Bench Walk from 1975 until 2000, appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1988.
In 2000 he was appointed a High Court Judge in the Queen’s Bench Division where he sat principally in the Commercial Court. In 2010 he was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal.
At the Bar, Sir Stephen practised in all the major areas of commercial law and international trade, particularly in the fields of shipping, marine insurance, oil and gas exploration, production and trading, commodity trading, international sale of goods, non-marine insurance and reinsurance, banking and professional negligence.
Sir Stephen appeared regularly as Counsel in arbitrations heard in the City of London. In his later career at the Bar he sat regularly as arbitrator in major international commercial disputes, and was the first arbitrator appointed under the auspices of the Electricity Arbitration Association to deal with disputes in the newly privatised electricity generating and supply industry.
As a first-instance judge Sir Stephen heard a wide range of commercial disputes in the Commercial Court, but he also sat in the other civil jurisdictions of the Queen’s Bench Division, where the work was sufficiently diverse to include a dispute over the provenance of an egg-clock attributed to Carl Fabergé. He also presided over criminal trials in the Crown Court.
In the Court of Appeal since 2010 his work has covered the full breadth of the Court’s civil jurisdiction.
Sir Stephen retired from the Court of Appeal in January 2017 and now accepts appointment as arbitrator.
Reported judgments which he has delivered in the commercial field include the following.
Member of the Garrick Club and the MCC.
Keen opera, concert and theatre goer, gardener, walker, cricket-watcher and retired cricketer and skier.
Called to the Bar, Inner Temple, 1974.
Queen’s Counsel 1988.
Assistant Recorder 1993, Recorder 1995.
Bencher of Inner Temple 1991.
High Court Judge 2000. Queen’s Bench Division sitting principally in the Commercial Court.
Judge-in-Charge of the Commercial Court 2003-2004.
Chairman of the Association of Average Adjusters 2009.
Lord Justice of Appeal 2010.
Privy Counsellor 2011.
Treasurer of the Inner Temple 2014, in which capacity Sir Stephen took part in the celebrations at the Library of Congress, Washington, to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, and delivered an address at the US Supreme Court.
King’s School Worcester 1963-1970; King’s Scholar.
Worcester College, Oxford 1970-1973. Open scholarship in History to read Law.
First class degree in Jurisprudence 1973.
University of Oxford Eldon Law Scholar 1974.
Pupillage at 7 King’s Bench Walk 1974-1975.
Lecturer in Law, Worcester College Oxford 1975-1976.
Practised at 7 King’s Bench Walk 1975-2000, Head of Chambers 1995-2000.