Matthew specialises in commercial and commercial chancery litigation & arbitration. He is ranked by the legal directories as a leading junior in the fields of commercial disputes, company law and product liability law.

Further areas of focus include civil fraud, offshore work and professional negligence disputes. He has a particular interest and significant experience in economic torts and conspiracy claims. He is also ranked by the Legal 500 in employment law, in which his work focuses on cross-over shareholder/tribunal claims and restrictive covenant disputes. Much of his work is international in nature, often involving conflicts of law and jurisdictional issues.

He has extensive trial advocacy experience and comments in the legal directories consistently recognise his courtroom performances. He has acted in a variety of mediations and other forms of ADR and speaks French, German and Spanish.

The following cases provide a flavour of his most recent practice:

  • Palmer Birch v Lloyd & Anr [2018] 4 WLR 164; [2018] 180 ConLR 50; [2018] BLR 722 – successfully representing claimant in economic torts trial (procuring breach of contract, unlawful means conspiracy). A significant decision in which the economic torts overcame the effects of a company insolvency, involving consideration of directors’ duties & the corporate veil.
  • Ang v Reliantco Investments Ltd [2019] 3 WLR 161 – jurisdiction challenge under Brussels Recast Regulation in claim relating to the allegedly wrongful close-out of Bitcoin future trades; consumer status under Art.17.
  • Kupeli & Ors v (1) Kibris Turk Hava Yollari Sirketi [2016] EWHC 930 (QB), [2016] 4 Costs LR 747 – representing 837 claimants in a trial of 10 test claims against a Turkish airline, seeking damages for the airline’s failure to fly them. Appeared in costs appeal in Court of Appeal, reported at [2018] 4 All ER 434; [2019] 1 WLR 1235.
  • Multi-Jurisdictional trusts dispute re BVI/Cayman/Curaçao trust companies, worth many millions. Questions of foreign law, fraud, conspiracy, dishonest assistance, knowing receipt & double derivative actions.
  • Acting (with Justin Fenwick QC) for high net worth individual, resisting application for security for arbitral award under s.70 of the Arbitration Act 1996 and application for worldwide freezing order (Commercial Court, 2018).
  • Early stage Saudi Arbitration in oil and gas sector.
  • Potts v USthree Group Holdings Limited (High Court, Insolvency & Companies List) – shareholder dispute: allegations of fraud; battle for control of the company; application for restoration to the register of members; rectification of articles of association; relief under s.994 of the Companies Act 2006.
  • Pilgrim Rock Ltd v Iwaniuk [2019] GCCR 17013; [2019] E.C.C. 8; [2019] C.T.L.C. 96 – successfully appearing in appeal against unfair relationship challenge under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 in which the trial judge re-wrote a loan agreement, relieving Matthew’s client of some £1.3m in interest (decision below reported at [2017] GCCR 15027).
  • Mortgage Trust Ltd v (1) Willmett (In Liquidation) (2) Smith [2018] EWHC 488 (Ch) – obtaining strike out of breach of trust claim for delay in (or want of) prosecution. Upholding same order on appeal.
  • Combination Hip Prosthesis Litigation – Defending consultant surgeons alleged to have become a “producer” of metal-on-metal hip implants within the meaning of the Consumer Protection Act 1987.

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Areas of Expertise

Commercial Litigation & Arbitration

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Recommended by the Legal 500 2019 and Chambers & Partners 2019 as a leading junior in commercial disputes, Matthew is experienced in Commercial Court, QBD, Chancery, Companies Court and TCC proceedings, as well as in arbitrations conducted both ad hoc and under specified institutional rules.  He is at ease seeking freezing and other mandatory injunctions at short notice.  His commercial cases often involve group / multi-party actions. Most of his cases straddle various areas of law, including commercial contract, the economic torts, civil fraud, company law and the law of fiduciary duties.  His wide sector experience extends to aviation, energy/natural resources and banking disputes.

“Extremely user friendly and very much works in partnership with the instructing solicitor.” Legal 500, 2019

“Stands out for his easy-going approach, efficient turnaround of quality work and excellent sense of humour.” “He impresses with his enthusiasm and willingness to go the extra mile.”  Chambers & Partners, 2019

Recent experiences have focused on the areas addressed in the drop-down headings below.

Commercial Contract Disputes

Matthew regularly appears in and advises on disputes embracing all aspects of commercial contract law.  He provides clear advice on the proper construction of contracts and is experienced in litigating matters spanning the whole range of contractual law, across a variety of business contexts.  He has acted in a large number of claims alleging misrepresentation.  Some examples of recent experience include:-

  • Quidnet Capital Partners LLP v Colsilverbird A S.ARL & Others – Acting for property investment firm in breach of contract claim for c. £5m against various Luxembourg companies.
  • Kupeli & others v (1) Kibris Turk Hava Yollari Sirketi (2) Atlasjet Havacilik Anonim Sirketi [2016] EWHC 930 (QB), [2016] 4 Costs LR 747 – successfully representing (against Leading Counsel) 837 claimant passengers in a trial of test claims against a Turkish airline, seeking damages for the airline’s failure to fly them.  The claim engaged contract law and the EU Denied Boarding Regulations, as well as arguments as to the correct approach to costs in test case litigation. Acted in costs appeal in Court of Appeal, reported at [2018] 4 All ER 434; [2019] 1 WLR 1235.
  • Advising and acting in relation to various claims involving shareholder and share purchase agreements, including breach of warranty and indemnity claims and claims on guarantees.
  • Advising and acting in insurance coverage disputes across various contexts, including fire and property damage claims.

 

Commercial Arbitration

Matthew has wide experience of domestic and international arbitrations, conducted both ad hoc and under specified institutional rules. Recent arbitration disputes in which Matthew has been involved include:

  • Saudi Arbitration – advising on early stages of arbitration in oil & gas sector, under Saudi Arabian statutory arbitration rules.
  • Acting (with Justin Fenwick QC) for high net worth individual, resisting application for security for an arbitral award under s.70 of the Arbitration Act 1996 and associated application for worldwide freezing order (Commercial Court, 2018).
  • Acting for foreign company in LCIA arbitration involving EPC/O&M contracts in the solar energy industry. The case involved highly technical evidence, complex contractual warranties and the validity of calls on performance bonds.
  • Higgins v Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd (TCC, 2017) – application to remove arbitrator under section 72(1) of the Arbitration Act 1996, in context of breach of contract dispute.
International Litigation / Private International Law

Matthew is experienced in work with an international dimension involving conflicts of laws and jurisdictional issues. Recent examples of claims involving an international dimension include:-

  • Ang v Reliantco Investments Ltd [2019] 3 WLR 161 – jurisdiction challenge under Brussels Recast Regulation; consumer status under Art.17.
  • Advising South African state-owned entities as to jurisdictional issues in relation to potential claims in English High Court.
  • Advising French-owned Algerian Company as to contractual indemnities owing to the subsidiary of a major oil company involved in a joint venture at a gas plant, Algeria. The claim engages both Algerian law and broader questions of jurisdiction.
  • Cross-jurisdictional claim by high net worth trader against a financial options brokerage website, involving interesting jurisdictional issues and allegations of misrepresentation.
  • Advising as to various disputes involving letters of request issued by English and foreign courts.
  • Acting (as junior) in various claims involving the question of liability for the foreign-based subsidiary of an English parent company (Guerrero & 30 Ors v Monterrico Metals Plc; Kessabo and others v African Barrick Gold Plc ). Issues: Act of State doctrine / State Immunity, freezing injunctions, anti-suit injunctions.
Banking & Financial Services

Matthew is regularly instructed in claims relating to loans, guarantees and those engaging the Consumer Credit legislation (in particular its unfair relations provisions), as well as mis-selling claims and claims brought under FSMA 2000 more generally.

Examples of recent banking and finance experience include:

  • Pilgrim Rock Ltd v Iwaniuk [2019] GCCR 17013; [2019] E.C.C. 8; [2019] C.T.L.C. 96 – appearing for successful respondent in appeal against decision in an unfair relationship challenge under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 in which the trial judge re-wrote a loan agreement, relieving Matthew’s client of some £1.3m in interest (decision below reported at [2017] GCCR 15027).
  • Syndicate Bank v Dansinganis & Siglo 21 Limited (Chancery Division, 2016 – 2017) – defending claim on legal charge and personal guarantee brought by Indian Bank, primarily on basis of undue influence. Judgment awaited.
  • S v BHIM Ltd – advising and acting in IFA’s defence of claim for damages in relation to a mis-sold investment. Various breaches of COBS rules and the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 are alleged.
Energy & Natural Resources

In recent years Matthew has built up a significant body of experience in the energy sector. His expertise spans the construction and operation of traditional oil & gas infrastructure facilities, but he also has significant experience in the renewables sector. Matthew’s experiences of product liability cases involving highly technical evidence stand him in good stead when acting in and advising on energy matters.

Recent examples of Matthew’s energy and natural resources experience include:

  • Saudi Arbitration – advising on early stages of arbitration in oil & gas sector, under Saudi Arabian statutory arbitration rules.
  • Advising and acting for a Kazakh subsidiary of a UK PLC, regarding potential claim arising out of refusal of insurance cover for a catastrophic loss at a copper extraction plant.
  • Defending French-owned Algerian Company against claim by BP subsidiary arising out of contractual indemnities allegedly owed in respect of a joint venture at a gas plant in Algeria.
  • F&S  Solar Invest UK Limited v Ampegon AG – share purchase agreement breach of warranty claim in relation to solar farm constructed under the FiTs scheme.
  • Advising UK administrators of off-shore wind company as to potential claims for breach of contract arising out of an asset purchase agreement with a Belgium company.
  • Acting for Spanish company in solar energy arbitration in which solar plants were alleged to have been installed with defective solar panels.
Restrictive Covenant / Confidential Information Disputes

Matthew is ranked for employment work in the Legal 500, which notes that “he can quickly analyse problems and offer pragmatic solutions.” Much of his practice in this area relates to High Court restrictive covenant and fiduciary duties / confidential information claims. He has extensive experience of urgent High Court injunction proceedings seeking to restrain the alleged abuse of confidential information / breaches of restrictive covenants across various industry contexts, including recruitment, financial services and the insurance sector.  His work in this area draws on and complements his knowledge and experience of economic torts claims and of claims involving breach of directors’ duties.

Commercial Chancery & Company Law

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Matthew is ranked in the Legal 500 2019 as a leading junior in company law, which comments that “He is an eloquent advocate and is fierce in cross examination.”

He is experienced in chancery litigation involving the collapse of business relationships and regularly acts in and advised on partnership disputes under the Partnership Act 1890 and unfair prejudice petitions under s.994 of the Companies Act 2006.  He is well versed in matters relating to the alleged misconduct of directors and associated allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, and relief arising from board-room bust-ups in all their many forms.

Matthew has a particular niche in employee/shareholder claims involving directors, and is well experienced in bringing shareholder actions in the High Court in tandem with employment tribunal proceedings. He enjoys advising on strategy in relation to such cases and is ranked for his employment expertise in Legal 500.

Examples of recent experience include:

  • Advising on arbitration in relation to a partnership dispute in investment management context, involving wide-ranging claims of unlawful means conspiracy and breaches of fiduciary duties.
  • Various claims involving allegations of directors’ misfeasance; diversion of business opportunities and revenues, false accounting, dishonest assistance & knowing receipt.
  • Potts v USthree Group Holdings Limited (High Court, Insolvency & Companies List, 2017 – 2018). Shareholders dispute: allegations of fraud; battle for control of the company; application for restoration to the register of members; rectification of articles of association; relief under s.994 of the Companies Act.
  • Multi-Jurisdictional trusts dispute re BVI/Cayman/Curaçao companies: Matthew has been acting in a multi-jurisdictional dispute concerning the assets of various companies together holding the assets of various trusts, totalling many millions.  His work on this matter has engaged various questions of foreign law and issues of fraud, conspiracy, dishonest assistance and knowing receipt as well as double derivative actions.
  • Mortgage Trust Ltd v (1) Willmett (In Liquidation) (2) Smith [2018] EWHC 488 (Ch) – acting for solicitor resisting breach of trust claim arising out of large-scale mortgage fraud perpetrated by a former partner. Matthew successfully obtained a strike out of the claim for want of prosecution and successful resisted a subsequent appeal against this order.
  • Acting for minority shareholders in claim for unfair prejudice, founded on their alleged wrongful removal from the management of a security company. Matthew advised on the employment aspects of these claims at the same time.
  • Coles v Petroplan Limited & Others – Advising and representing Claimant in unfair prejudice dispute focussing on whether the Claimant is a “Good” or “Bad” Leaver under Articles of Association. The case straddled contract, company and employment law and Matthew also acted on concurrent employment tribunal proceedings.

Civil Fraud, Conspiracy & Economic Torts

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Matthew is well used to the complexities and evidential challenges of fraud claims, and has a particular interest and experience in claims in conspiracy and the economic torts more generally.  His first experience as sole trial counsel in the High Court was successfully defending Mr Little against claims of fraudulent misrepresentation, dishonest assistance and knowing receipt in Gabriel v Little & Ors 15 ITELR  387, [2013] 1 BCLC 750 (first instance); [2013] EWCA Civ 1513, 16 ITELR 567 (CoA). He is experienced in obtaining and resisting the forms of interim relief commonly associated with claims in fraud, including freezing injunctions. Examples of recent experience include:

  • Palmer Birch v Lloyd & Anr [2018] 4 WLR 164; [2018] 180 ConLR 50; [2018] BLR 722 – successfully representing claimant in trial of economic tort claims (procuring breach of contract, unlawful means conspiracy). A significant decision in which the economic torts were used to overcome the effects of a company insolvency, involving consideration of directors’ duties and the corporate veil. This is the first decision to consider what the Supreme Court meant by the phrase a “just cause or excuse” for a conspiracy in its decision in JSC BTA Bank v Khrapunov [2018] UKSC 19 (see article on this topic below).
  • Advising and acting for ultimate beneficial owner of a UK company seeking recovery of significant sums lost to fraud. Appointment of receiver under section 37 of the Senior Courts Act 1981.
  • Acting (with Justin Fenwick QC) for high net worth individual, resisting application for worldwide freezing order (Commercial Court, 2018).
  • Advising owner of shipping companies as to potential high value conspiracy claim arising out of company insolvency allegedly orchestrated by major UK bank.
  • Advising South African owned state entity as to UK bribery law.
  • Jackson v Thompsons Solicitors & Ors [2015] EWHC 218 (QB) (led by Patrick Green QC) – six week High Court trial in unlawful means conspiracy, procuring a breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation claim relating to a group litigation order. Acted in 2016 application to Court of Appeal (Jackson v Thompsons & Others [2016] EWCA Civ 138)).

Product Liability

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Recommended in both legal directories for his product liability work, recent editions note that he is “An excellent junior, whose advice is amazingly coherent and concise. He is a superb cross-examiner” and “technically very strong”. It comments that he has a “very strong understanding of the Consumer Protection Act and is known for his ability to turn his hand to both civil and criminal product liability defence.  

Matthew’s product liability work is broad-ranging and encompasses:

  • Group/Multi-party actions – As with his commercial work, many of his product liability cases involve group / multi-party actions and he has provided seminars on this topic.
  • Commercial product liability disputes including sale of goods and international sales of goods claims.
  • Property damage claims involving damage allegedly caused by a variety of products, including component parts installed within products.
  • Product recalls – Matthew wrote the chapter “Product Recall in the EU” in the International Product Law Manual and has advised on the adequacy of product recalls in various contexts, including in fire and property damage claims.
  • Automotive claims – Matthew has represented various well known foreign-based manufacturers of cars and their subsidiary companies in claims brought under the Consumer Protection Act and in contract. He is familiar with the jurisdictional issues that may arise in those cases.
  • Inquests – Matthew has appeared at a large number of inquests on behalf of manufacturers of domestic appliances and products alleged to have caused death and is sensitive to the brand reputation issues engaged by such hearings.

Recent instructions include:

  • Acting for various defendants in claims relating to metal-on-metal hip implants.
  • Advising as to a potential group action against a variety of diesel car manufacturers.
  • Combination Hip Prosthesis Litigation – Defending (with Charles Gibson QC) various consultant surgeons alleged to have become a “producer” of metal-on-metal hip implants within the meaning of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 by reason of having combined component parts from different manufacturers. Resisting an application for a reference to the ECJ.
  • Acting in a number of Consumer Protection Act and negligence claims brought against manufacturers of household appliances alleged to have caused house fires.

Professional Liability

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Matthew is experienced in professional liability and negligence claims, particularly those involving solicitors, independent financial advisors, valuers, surveyors and insurance brokers. Examples of recent professional negligence work include:

  • Advising a Kazakh subsidiary of a UK Plc in potential claim against insurance brokers arising out of voiding of insurance cover in respect of a catastrophic loss. Interesting questions of foreign law.
  • Acting in claim against solicitors in relation to a series of property transfers undertaken without proper client instructions or advice.
  • Defending solicitors in relation to alleged negligent conduct of employment tribunal proceedings.
  • Acting for firm of independent financial advisors alleged to have acted negligently and in breach of regulatory rules (COBS).
  • Acting in relation to a claim involving the negligent provision of hedge fund investment advice.
  • Securing the strike out of a substantial claim against a firm of solicitors for the allegedly negligent conduct of personal injury litigation.
  • Advising and drafting in relation to a claim against solicitors for negligent conduct of construction litigation (settled at mediation).
  • Advising and drafting in relation to a claim against a firm of solicitors for negligent advice and representation in relation to licensed premises (settled at mediation).
  • Advising and drafting in relation to a claim against construction professionals arising out of negligently conducted works.

Offshore

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Matthew’s experiences in commercial chancery matters and international commercial matters serves him well in offshore litigation, an area in which he has acquired significant experience in recent years.

Recent examples of such experience include:

  • Assisting Jersey-based law firm in proceedings relating to an acrimonious boardroom dispute between Korean owners. The case engaged issues as to the proper authority to act for the company.
  • Multi-Jurisdictional dispute re BVI/Cayman/Curaçao companies: Matthew has been acting in a multi-jurisdictional dispute concerning the assets of various companies together holding the assets of various trusts, totalling many millions.  His work on this matter has so far engaged questions of Liechtenstein, Cayman Islands and Curaçao law and issues of fraud, conspiracy, dishonest assistance and knowing receipt as well as double derivative actions.
  • Claim in misrepresentation and breach of contract against BVI-registered company.

Matthew is a member of the International Bar Association and of C5, and is attuned to the cultural sensitivities which arise when working for clients from around the globe, and in particular the Asian  and CIS markets.

Qualifications & Memberships

Education & Scholarships

  • BA (Hons) (Oxon) 2000, (French & German) 1st Class
  • PgDL, City University
  • Lord Woolf Scholar (Daily Telegraph/1 Crown Office Row)
  • Hardwicke, Haldane & Thomas Moore Scholar (Lincoln’s Inn)
  • Phoenicia Scholar (Bar European Group)

Memberships

  • The Commercial Bar Association
  • London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association
  • Commercial Fraud Lawyers Association
  • International Bar Association

Related Podcasts

Publications

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