Michael David Thomas

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For the footballer Michael David Thomas, see Michael Thomas (footballer born 1992).
Michael Thomas
Michael Thomas QC, Attorney General of Hong Kong.jpg
Attorney General of Hong Kong
In office
Governor Edward Youde
David Wilson
Preceded by John Calvert Griffiths
Succeeded by Jeremy Fell Mathews
Personal details
Born (1933-09-08) 8 September 1933 (age 83)
Spouse(s) Jane Lena Mary
(m.1958 div.1978)
Gabrielle Blackmore
(m.1981 div.1988)
Lydia Dunn (m.1988)
Relations Cardigan Thomas (father)
Kathleen Thomas (mother)
Alma mater Chigwell School
London School of Economics
Middle Temple

Michael David Thomas, CMG, QC, SC (born on 8 September 1933; Chinese: 唐明治) is a retired barrister, who served as the penultimate Attorney General of Hong Kong before the Transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1997. He served the post from 1983 to 1988, under the Governorships of Sir Edward Youde and Lord David Wilson.

Early life[edit]

Thomas was born to parents Cardigan and Kathleen Thomas in southeast England. He attended Chigwell School and later the London School of Economics. He received a Middle Temple Blackstone Entrance Scholarship in 1952. He was called to the Middle Temple and became a barrister in 1955.

Practice in England[edit]

Until 1983 in England, Thomas specialised in commercial and maritime law. He was Treasury Counsel for the Ministry of Defence and Royal Navy as a junior and advised on the 'Torrey Canyon' casualty. He acted for the Tribunal at several maritime inquiries and an inquiry into an aircraft crash near Heathrow.[1]

He was made a Queen's Counsel in 1973.[2] He was appointed a bencher of Middle Temple in 1981.[3]

In silk, he appeared as counsel before tribunals in England (including the House of Lords and Privy Council), Singapore, Hong Kong, New York and Lisbon. He sat as Chairman of Boards of Investigation appointed by the UK government and by the Liberian government into shipping casualties.[1]

Attorney General of Hong Kong[edit]

In 1983, he was invited to become Attorney General of Hong Kong and served in that position until 1988. In his capacity as Attorney General, he was a member of the Executive and Legislative Councils and Joint Chairman of the Law Reform Commission. In 1984, he played a part in the ultimate settlement of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. For this he was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG).[4]

Practice in Hong Kong and England[edit]

After finishing his term as Attorney General, he recommenced private practice at the bar in England and Hong Kong, and established himself as a leading advocate.

Before his retirement he specialised in appellate advocacy before the Court of Final Appeal or Court of Appeal and cases of judicial review, but stopped undertaking trial work at first instance, either civil or criminal.[1]

He argued in cases on the government's behalf in 2005[5] and 2009.[6]


Thomas retired from practice at the end of 2013. His last court hearing was in the Hong Kong Court of Appeal in the case of Re Mably. The Court of Appeal in their judgment thanked Thomas for his service to Hong Kong as follows:

We were told that this is the last case in which Mr Thomas would appear in court as counsel. In the circumstances, we consider it appropriate to join Mr Shieh and Mr Jat in paying tribute to Mr Thomas’ contribution to the healthy growth and development of the Hong Kong Bar when he served as the Attorney General of Hong Kong and thereafter as an eminent silk in the local Bar.[7]


Thomas has been married three times. By his first wife, Jane Lena Mary, he has four children; David Francis Cardigan born on 16 April 1960;[8] Sian Katharine Mary born on 22 January 1962, Daniel Michael Winston born on 30 January 1965, and Rachel Fiona born on 31 July 1969.[9]

His current wife is Lydia Dunn, Baroness Dunn, who was the Senior Unofficial Member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong 1985-8 and of the Executive Council of Hong Kong in 1988–92.[10]


  1. ^ a b c Michael Thomas' CV on Temple Chambers website (2013)
  2. ^ London Gazette, 3 May 1973
  3. ^ Middle Temple Records
  4. ^ London Gazette, 31 December 1984, Supplement 3, Page 4
  5. ^ Albert Wong (14 April 2005). "Time against CE review". The Standard. Retrieved 3 January 2011. In what appears to be an attempt to avert a face-off with the court, senior counsel for the government, Michael Thomas, praised the good intentions of Chan's application and insisted they had no objections to granting the judicial review. '` 
  6. ^ Nickkita Lau (24 February 2009). "Prison-vote suspension appeal put on hold". The Standard. Retrieved 3 January 2011. Senior Counsel Michael Thomas, for the government, argued that although third parties may still launch proceedings to challenge the law during the suspension period, Cheung's judgment had already set a precedent, so someone seeking judicial reviews could not use the same ground for complaints as the three applicants. 
  7. ^ Re Mably, CACV 173/2013, Yeung VP, Lam and Lunn JJA
  8. ^ Opportunity knocks - David Thomas
  9. ^ Webb-site Who's Who entry for Thomas
  10. ^ Lydia Dunn gives up seat in House of Lords
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Calvert Griffiths
Attorney General of Hong Kong
Succeeded by
Jeremy Fell Mathews