19 Jan 2023

London’s Twenty Essex signs up-and-coming Hong Kong commercial barrister

Thomas Wong dubbed 'perfect fit' for chambers''ever-growing' Far East practice

Formal photograph of Thomas Wong

Thomas Wong

A leading Hong Kong junior barrister has joined London commercial set Twenty Essex after completing a shortened three-month pupillage. 

Thomas Wong, a tenant at Denis Chang’s Chambers for more than five years, brings with him considerable experience as a commercial litigator.

Prior to his transfer to the Bar in 2018, he spent almost a decade working as a solicitor, with stints at Hogan Lovells and Clifford Chance having trained and qualified at respected local firm Wilkinson & Grist in 2010. 

Called to the England and Wales Bar in 2021, he undertook his pupillage with Andrew Fulton KC after completing the Bar Transfer Test and requisite qualifying sessions.

Wong’s practice will continue to focus on commercial litigation and international arbitration, including in England, Hong Kong and Singapore. He will retain his tenancy at Denis Chang’s Chambers and practise in Hong Kong’s courts, but will make use of Twenty Essex’s Singapore annex and its London headquarters. 

Wong brings with him considerable experience in Hong Kong chancery and insolvency matters – dovetailing neatly with the BVI-centred offshore work of silks like former head of chambers Stephen Atherton KC.

Many closely held Hong Kong family businesses make use of offshore trust structures, while the set’s insolvency practice is no stranger to Privy Council work thanks to silks like Fulton, who is called in the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands.

Wong’s work will sit well alongside established juniors like Matthew Chan, Maria Kennedy, and Harris Bor; he is a native Chinese (Cantonese) speaker and is also fluent in Mandarin.

In a joint statement, Philip Edey KC and Charles Kimmins KC, co-heads of Twenty Essex since last year, said: “Thomas is a highly experienced litigator who we have every confidence will continue to build on his practice at the Bar in Hong Kong, now in and from London. His addition to chambers is a perfect fit for our ever-growing practice in and from the Far East.”

Wong’s move is not the only recent transfer from the Hong Kong Bar; Serle Court announced last year that Temple Chambers' Wilson Leung joined them, having also completed his pupillage. 

Leung, who retained his tenancy in Hong Kong, now practises full-time in London. He brought with him 13 years spent building a similar commercial litigation practice to Wong, all in core areas for both sets.

Moving in the other direction, former Serle Court silk Victor Joffe QC, who joined Hong Kong’s Temple Chambers in 2011, was appointed a Senior Counsel in the SAR in June 2022 making him one of a handful of barristers appointed silk to both Bars since the handover to China in 1997.

In 2021, 7 Bedford Row's Jern-Fei Ng QC joined Hong Kong's Temple Chambers as an arbitrator member, later announcing his call to the Singaporean Bar in 2022 following his decision to relocate there from the UK.

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