Ian Thomas

Ian  Thomas


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Solicitor, England and Wales 1993
Solicitor and barrister, South Australia and High Court of Australia 2010

Signed Bar Roll


Academic Qualifications

University of Cambridge (First Class Honours in Law) 1987 - 1990

Professional Experience

Ian has a broad commercial practice, appearing as counsel in first instance and appellate State and Commonwealth Courts.  He has extensive experience of ADR, having acted in mediations, arbitrations and expert determinations, and is available for advisory and advocacy work in substantial and complex matters. 

Corporate and commercial

  • Full Court appeal on formation of contract by conduct: Holt v Bunney [2020] SASCFC 89
  • Supreme Court trial (unled) and appeal (led by Mark Hoffmann KC) in possession proceedings raising issues of estoppel, unsolicited financial services, application of National Credit Code and prudent lending obligations under the Code of Banking Practice (Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited v Brackenridge [2020] SAC 114; Brackenridge v Bendigo and Adelaide Bank [2021] SASCA 129)
  • Trial of claim relating to alleged breaches of duties by directors of junior mining company (Termite Resources NL (in liq) v Meadows (No 2) [2019] FCA 354, led by Joshua Thomson SC, and, on appeal, by Kanaga Dharmananda SC. The matter resolved pending delivery of judgment on the appeal)
  • Lengthy trial of claim for alleged misleading and deceptive conduct in the local government sector (Southern Waste ResourceCo v AHRWMA [2019] SASC 192, led by Tom Cox KC)
  • Federal Court trial of claim for misleading or deceptive conduct and recovery of investments in start-up business (RRG Nominees Pty Ltd v Visible Temporary Fencing Australia Pty Ltd (No 4) [2019] FCA 686)
  • Trial of dispute concerning rights to sell the minerals produced by a joint venture (Alliance Craton Explorer Pty Ltd v Quasar Resources Ltd, SA Supreme Court, led by Alan Archibald KC and Brendon Roberts KC, settled before judgment)
  • Numerous claims of alleged misleading or deceptive conduct

  • Numerous claims involving allegations of oppressive conduct and breaches of directors' statutory and fiduciary duties

  • Professional negligence claims involving solicitors and accountants

  • Significant dispute concerning quality and fitness of industrial equipment (Supreme Court, led by Tom Cox KC, settled at mediation)
  • Acting for engineer in multi-party dispute concerning alleged defects in construction of a building in the Northern Territory (settled after mediation)
  • Acting for builder in relation to claims arising from collapse of industrial storage facility in South Australia (led by Mark Hoffmann KC, settled after mediation)

  • Acting in various claims involving allegations of oppressive conduct, contrary to the Corporations Act


  • Acting for two directors in substantial claim for insolvent trading by a mining company (led by Allan Myers KC and Mark Hoffmann KC, settled before trial)
  • Numerous applications, including for judicial advice and directions, in connection with the finalisation of the liquidation of various companies within the Bond group
  • Full Court appeal concerning duties of voluntary administrator and liquidator (Macks v Viscariello [2017] SASCFC 172, led by Mark Hoffmann KC)
  • Voidable transaction claims 
  • Application under Cross-Border Insolvency Act 2008 (Cth) for recognition of foreign proceedings (Wood v Astra Resources Ltd [2016] FCA 1192)

  • Application for termination of voluntary liquidation (settled at mediation)

Commercial arbitration

  • Appeal, and application for leave to appeal, against arbitral award in claim for breach of contractual payment obligations (Inghams Enterprises Pty Ltd v Southern Cross Farms Australia Pty Ltd [2022] SASCA 7, led by Pat Zappia KC)
  • Arbitration concerning alleged failure to account to a customer for gold recovered from ore delivered to a processing plant in Western Australia
  • Substantial arbitration before the Hon Kevin Lindgren KC concerning alleged defects and claims for compensation arising out of a major construction project (led by Mark Livesey KC)
  • Substantial arbitration before the Hon Kevin Lindgren QC concerning contractual dispute between joint venturers (led by Tom Cox KC)


  • Acting in a partnership dispute, involving alleged continuation of the partnership business after dissolution (settled at mediation)
  • Acting in dispute between partners in a software business (settled after mediation)
  • Acting in various dispute between partners in a medical practices (all settled out of court)

Wills and estates

  • Trial concerning validity of will, involving issues of testamentary capacity, knowledge and approval of contents of will and allegations of undue influence (Moloney v Hayward [2022] SASC 79, led by Tom Cox KC)
  • Appeal concerning advice and directions given ex parte to executor and trustee of deceased estate (led by Hugh Abbott SC, judgment pending)

  • Applications for judicial advice and directions to executors and trustees

  • Proceedings under the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1975 (SA)
  • Proceedings for admission of informal will
  • Acting in litigation concerning administration of significant estate involving alleged self-dealing and breaches of trust (Hamex Corp Pty Ltd v Latrobe Street Ventures Pty Ltd [2019] FCA 1717, Hamex Corp Pty Ltd v Latrobe Street Ventures [2020] VSC 360, led by Mark Livesey KC and then Peter Bick KC)


  • Trials in Federal, Supreme, District and Magistrates Courts
  • Counsel at trial and on appeal in matter involving allegations of misappropriation of funds raised for a charitable purpose (McLachlan & South Ozz Shelter v Hamilton [2020] SASC 126)
  • Counsel (led and unled) on various appeals
  • Counsel on various interlocutory matters in Federal, Supreme, District and Magistrates Courts, including for injunctive relief and freezing orders
  • Appearing in mediations
  • Advisory and opinion work

Education and admissions

University of Cambridge (First Class Honours in Law) 1987 – 1990

Solicitor, England and Wales 1993

Solicitor and Barrister, South Australia and High Court of Australia 2010

Employment history

From 2016:      Barrister, Bar Chambers, Adelaide

2014-2016:      Barrister, Edmund Barton Chambers, Adelaide

2011-2014:      Partner, Finlaysons, Adelaide

2008-2011:      Finlaysons, Adelaide.  Initially as an overseas lawyer and then as Special Counsel following admission in South Australia

1997-2008:      Allen & Overy LLP, London, UK

1993-1997:      Solicitor, Veale Wasbrough, Bristol, UK

Professional memberships     

Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association

Energy & Resources Law Association

Law Society of South Australia

South Australian Bar Association (Council member 2017-2022 and Treasurer from 2017-2019)

Examples of publications and seminars

An introduction to commercial arbitration, for South Australian Bar Association (November 2020) and Law Society of South Australia (December 2020)

Damages for breach of commercial contracts, for South Australian Bar Association (December 2015)

Proportionate liability (with Brendon Roberts KC), for South Australian Bar Association annual conference (October 2015)

Proportionate liability: Where are we now? Legalwise Seminars (March 2015)

Conflicts of interest: an in-house perspective, Legalwise Seminars (November 2014)

An introduction to financial services litigation, Law Society of South Australia (June 2014)


Listed in Doyle’s Guide, Leading Commercial Litigation & Dispute Resolution Barristers, since 2017.

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2013 (Litigation and ADR)

Best Lawyers’ 2019 Lawyer of the Year for ADR in Adelaide.