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.