Direct Access Barrister

Thomas Anthony Herbert

Direct Access Barrister

Thomas Anthony Herbert

I am a specialist civil barrister with particular expertise in inquests & inquiries, clinical negligence, personal injury (including industrial disease) and commercial litigation. I represent clients at hearings & trials and on appeal. I also advise clients in conference and in writing.

Tom studied Chemistry at the University of York and graduated with a Master’s degree before studying at Nottingham Law School, where he achieved a distinction in his Graduate Diploma in Law and was graded “Outstanding” on the Bar Professional Training Course, obtaining the highest mark in his year in Civil Litigation.

As a result of his scientific background, he has a rigorous, analytical approach. He enjoys dealing with abstract or technical points of law and is adept at dealing with engineering issues and complex calculations. His background means that he is particularly well-placed to analyse chemical, pharmaceutical and statistical evidence and converse with experts in those fields.

Tom frequently delivers lectures and seminars to solicitors. Recent topics include vicarious liability, expert evidence and business interruption insurance claims arising from COVID-19. He also contributes to publications such as the Journal of Personal Injury Law.

Away from the Bar, Tom’s interests include current affairs, good food and wine, and hiking. He is a school governor at his former primary school in Nottinghamshire.

Area of Law

Clinical Negligence

Tom is recognised as a “rising star” in clinical negligence work by the Legal 500. He advises, drafts pleadings and acts across a broad spectrum of medical work, including dental negligence. Many of his cases follow inquest proceedings. He has experience of high-value claims, complex causation arguments, issues of informed consent and Fatal Accidents Act claims. He generally acts in cases worth up to £500,000.

Tom’s scientific background means that he is adept at conducting conferences with experts. He has also questioned numerous experts through his coronial practice, from GPs to consultant paediatric nephrologists.


Tom is listed as a “rising star” in commercial litigation by the Legal 500 and has broad experience across a range of commercial matters, from simple debt collection to complex contractual disputes. He represents clients in court and in all forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

He has experience of disputes arising from breach of contract, claims involving wrongful interference with goods, construction disputes, misrepresentation and restitution claims. He also has experience of insolvency matters and disputes between companies and directors.


As a pupil, Tom assisted with legal research in a number of notable decisions such as Jones v Spire Healthcare Ltd [2016] 3 Costs LO 487 (assignment of conditional fee agreements) and Essar Oilfields Services Ltd v Norscot Rig Management PVT Ltd [2017] Bus LR 227 (costs awards in arbitration proceedings).

In his own right, he regularly attends CCMCs, for both Claimants and Defendants, as well as other costs applications and hearings such as applications for non-party costs orders. He recently appeared in C v S [2022] EWHC 800 (Fam), a costs appeal arising from long-running and complex private law children proceedings.


Tom has a niche interest in special educational needs and disability law, which is informed by – and informs – his activities as a school governor. He has appeared in the First-tier Tribunal and has also drafted submissions on costs in relation to special educational needs proceedings.

Inquests and Public Inquiries

Tom has an excellent reputation is the field of inquests & inquiries. This is recognised in the Legal 500, where he is listed as a “leading junior”. He routinely acts for families and other interested persons at pre-inquest reviews hearings and at inquests, both where proceedings (civil or criminal) are likely to follow and where matters are unlikely to be taken any further. His experience includes inquests involving deaths in or related to primary and secondary care, cases where the deceased was known to local authority social care departments, deaths of vulnerable adults in care homes, accidents at work and road traffic accidents.

The inquests at which Tom appears are frequently dominated by complex questions of fact and medical causation, raising issues such as neglect and the applicability of Article 2 of the ECHR. He is accordingly experienced in making legal submissions and questioning lay and expert witnesses in such matters.

Insurance and Reinsurance

Tom often advises insurers in respect of coverage and indemnity issues, predominantly in a personal injury and industrial disease context, though instructions have covered areas as diverse as criminal prosecutions and employment law.

He has also advised insurers at a more strategic level as to their approach to underwriting certain classes of work.

Personal Injury

Tom deals with personal injury cases across all tracks, including advice on procedure and tactics. He is ranked as a “rising star” by the Legal 500 and is regularly instructed by Claimants and Defendants across the full range of personal injury disputes, including employers’ liability, public liability, occupiers’ liability, defective premises, product liability and Highways Act claims. He has a busy trial practice and regularly attends interim hearings. He is sought after for his concise and robust drafting, particularly of Defences.

Industrial disease work also forms a significant part of Tom’s personal injury practice. He has particular experience of noise-induced hearing loss claims and regularly acts for both Claimants and Defendants, dealing with medical causation, breach of duty and limitation. He is also familiar with claims relating to occupational asthma, asbestos-related disease, occupational stress, COSHH and work-related upper limb disorders.

Claims arising from exposure to chemicals are a particular interest, given Tom’s background, as are technical factual and legal arguments on causation. Accidents in schools are also a particular interest.


Tom has a special interest in claims relating to beneficial interests in property (e.g. disputes over the ownership or transfer of property or land, often in connection with divorce; constructive trusts; and proprietary estoppel).

He has appeared at the final hearings of numerous claims under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 and is experienced at drafting pleadings and advising on such matters.

What sort of work do I do?

Tom has a busy and wide-ranging civil practice. He is regularly instructed in complex matters, including those attracting media interest, and is sought after for his first-class analytical ability combined with compelling written and oral advocacy.

He is ranked by the Legal 500 as a “leading junior” in inquests & inquiries, clinical negligence and personal injury and as a “rising star” in commercial litigation. He is also ranked by Chambers & Partners as an "up and coming" junior in clinical negligence.

The breadth of Tom’s practice is apparent from his instructions on applications, at trial and on appeal in matters ranging from personal injury and disease to commercial disputes and costs. He is a particularly experienced appeal advocate considering his level of call.

Who do I work for?

Tom represents individuals and corporations before civil courts (such as the County Court and High Court) and tribunals (such as the First-tier Tribunal). He also represents clients in Alternative Dispute Resolution (such as mediation).

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