Matthew specialises in commercial and commercial chancery litigation and arbitration. He is ranked by the legal directories as a leading junior in the fields of (1) commercial disputes (2) civil fraud (3) commercial chancery (4) company & partnership & (5) product liability law.

Further areas of focus include offshore work and professional negligence disputes. He has a particular interest and significant experience in economic torts and conspiracy claims. Much of his work is international in nature, often involving conflicts of law and jurisdictional issues. Commendations from commentators in the legal directories include:

Advocacy“an excellent advocate who knows how to read a courtroom”; “a superb cross-examiner”; “an eloquent advocate and fierce in cross examination”; “good on his feet and very engaging”; “nothing less than superman in cross-examination and mediation”; “An assassin in cross-examination and clearly bound for the very highest echelons of the Bar”.

Analysis – “technically very strong”; “His advice is absolutely brilliant. You can give him a very complicated set of facts and he just takes control and guides you through what you need to do”; “innovative with his ideas” ; “strong on paper with an eye for detail”; “demonstrates excellent commercial know-how”.

Paperwork – “a wordsmith, both in settling pleadings and penning correspondence”; “an excellent junior, whose advice is amazingly coherent and concise”; “turns stuff around really, really quickly and his paperwork is great.”

Working Style – “a pleasure to work with”; “a really responsive, affable barrister who’s commercial in his outlook, and who will bend over backwards to get things done.”; “impresses with his enthusiasm and his willingness to go the extra mile.”; “Extremely user friendly and very much works in partnership with the instructing solicitor”; “Friendly, approachable and easy to speak to”.

He relishes trials and has extensive trial advocacy experience as sole counsel. He also acts in a variety of mediations and other forms of ADR. He is regularly instructed, often at short notice, to deal with applications for interim relief such as freezing injunctions and Norwich Pharmacal orders. He speaks French, German and Spanish.

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

  • Sytner & Ors v Vaughan [2020] (Chan Div) – successful strike out of c. £5m claim  (fraudulent breach of fiduciary duty etc.) against investment manager; resisting Norwich Pharmacal relief; indemnity costs.
  • Numerous ongoing unfair prejudice petitions under the Companies Act 2006.
  • Vale v Steinmetz & Ors [2020] (Comm Ct) – acting for defendant to US$1.8 billion claim by Brazilian mining company re joint venture in Guinea (on-going – bribery, deceit, unlawful means conspiracy, proprietary claims, freezing injunctions).
  • Re Aston Martin Owners Club Ltd [2021] EWHC 1309 (Ch) defending declaratory relief claim and representative proceedings; claim dismissed with indemnity costs.
  • Ang v Reliantco Investments Ltd [2019] 3 WLR 161 – jurisdiction challenge under Brussels regime; consumer status under Art.17. 2020 Commercial Court trial of claim and counterclaim (defence of deceit and claim to set aside previous judgment for fraud).
  • Acting for well-known German manufacturer in ongoing multimillion pound dispute concerning defective supply of oil isolation valves for use in domestic boilers.
  • Grantham Capital v Langham & Ors [2020] (Comm Ct) – acting for defendants in c.£8m claim for fraudulent breach of warranty arising out of the sale of a company.
  • ICC mediation (202o) – international sale of goods dispute in energy sector.
  • 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). Significant decision: economic torts overcame effects of a company insolvency.
  • Syndicate Bank v Dansingani & Ors [2019] EWHC 3439 (Ch) – successful undue influence defence; rescission of personal guarantee and mortgage entered into 13 years apart; indemnity costs (2020).
  • Goknur v Organic Village Ltd [2019] EWHC 2201 – defending Turkish company at trial of claim re adulterated fruit juice: claim in deceit defeated; no substantive damages awarded to claimant.
  • Naqvi v Harris Cartier & Ors [2019] EWHC 3042 (QB) – successful summary judgment application for solicitors facing £10.2 million claim for allegedly negligent conduct of litigation.
  • LCIA arbitration in Russian oil and gas sector – arguments as to force majeure and the effects of “take or pay” obligations.
  • Kupeli & Ors v (1) Kibris Turk Hava Yollari Sirketi [2016] EWHC 930 (QB), [2016] 4 Costs LR 747 – representing as sole counsel 837 claimants in trial of test claims for breach of contract against Turkish airline. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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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“An eloquent advocate and fierce in cross examination; he is a wordsmith, both in settling pleadings and penning correspondence.”
Legal 500, 2021

“Responsive and to the point, he is an excellent advocate who knows how to read a courtroom.” “He is very down to earth and user-friendly.” Chambers & Partners 2021

“Nothing less than Superman in cross-examination and mediation.” Legal 500, 2020

“He’s a really responsive, affable barrister who’s commercial in his outlook, and who will bend over backwards to get things done.” “He impresses with his enthusiasm and his willingness to go the extra mile.” Chambers & Partners, 2020

“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.” Chambers & Partners, 2019

Recommended by the Legal 500 2021 and Chambers & Partners 2021 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.  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.

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.  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.

 

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:

  • ICC arbitration – international sale of goods dispute in energy (powerplant) sector (2020).
  • LCIA arbitration in Russian oil and gas sector – arguments as to force majeure and the effects of “take or pay” obligations (2019).
  • 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; 2 All ER (Comm) 958 – 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 other forms of security.

Examples of recent banking and finance experience include:

  • Syndicate Bank v Dansingani & Ors [2019] EWHC 3439 (Ch) – trial of claim by bank seeking to enforce loan securities, in which Matthew ran a rare successful undue influence defence, obtaining rescission of a personal guarantee and a mortgage entered into 13 years apart.
  • 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).
  • 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:

  • Advising English supplier of processed fuel oil as to claim by Greek purchaser for alleged repudiatory breach of contract.
  • ICC arbitration – international sale of goods dispute relating to equipment supplied for use in powerplants.
  • Early stage LCIA arbitration in Russian oil and gas sector – arguments as to force majeure and the effects of “take or pay” obligations.
  • 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 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. 2019/2020 has seen him acting in various restrictive covenant / confidential information claims, including in the insurance broking, recruitment consultancy and retail sectors.

Commercial Chancery & Company Law

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“He is a pleasure to work with, good on his feet and very engaging. He’s good at reading the courtroom, very commercial, and innovative with his ideas.” “He is friendly, approachable and easy to speak to.” Chambers & Partners, 2021

“He has commercial know-how.” Legal 500, 2021

“He demonstrates excellent commercial know-how which appeals to clients.” Legal 500, 2020

 “He is an eloquent advocate and is fierce in cross examination.” Legal 500, 2019

Matthew is ranked in the Legal 500 as a leading junior in company law and by Chambers & Partners as a leading junior in Commercial Chancery law.

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.

Examples of recent experience include:

  • Numerous ongoing unfair prejudice petitions under s.994 of the Companies Act, including in the I.T., engineering, television shopping and retail sectors.
  • Sytner & Ors v Vaughan [2020] (Chancery Division) – successful strike out with indemnity costs of c. £5m claim against LLP investment manager alleging dishonest and fraudulent breach of fiduciary duty and breach of trust.
  • Syndicate Bank v Dansingani & Ors [2019] EWHC 3439 (Ch) – trial in which Matthew ran a rare successful undue influence defence, obtaining rescission of a personal guarantee and a mortgage entered into 13 years apart; indemnity costs against claimant bank.
  • Re MBi Walsden – ongoing high profile insolvency dispute; initially successfully resisted an application to appoint administrators; resisting an application to overturn a vote for an IVA reached at a creditor’s meeting .
  • Various claims involving allegations of directors’ misfeasance; diversion of business opportunities and revenues, false accounting, dishonest assistance & knowing receipt.
  • Multi-Jurisdictional trusts dispute re BVI/Cayman/Curaçao companies.

Civil Fraud, Conspiracy & Economic Torts

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A large part of Matthew’s practice involves him advising and acting on fraud claims. He is well used to the complexities and evidential challenges of such claims, and has a particular interest and experience in claims in conspiracy and the economic torts more generally. He is experienced in obtaining and resisting (often at short notice) the forms of interim relief commonly associated with claims in fraud, including freezing injunctions. Examples of recent experience include:

  • Vale SA v Steinmetz & Ors (Commercial Court, 2020) – acting for defendant in billion dollar dispute re JV agreement concerning a diamond mine in the Republic of Guinea (fraudulent misrepresentation, unlawful means conspiracy, proprietary claims, freezing injunctions).
  • Sytner & Ors v Vaughan [2020] (Chancery Division) – successful strike out with indemnity costs of c. £5m claim against LLP investment manager alleging dishonest and fraudulent breach of fiduciary duty and breach of trust; resisting Norwich Pharmacal relief.
  • Ang v Reliantco Investments Ltd (Commercial Court trial, 2020). Trial for breach of contract involving defence of deceit and counterclaim to set aside previous judgment (reported at [2019] 3 WLR 161) for fraud.
  • Defending various parties against allegations of fraudulent conduct and fraudulent breach of warranty in relation to share purchase agreements (Commercial Court, 2020).
  • Acting for claimant in multimillion pound economic torts claim in Saudi oil and gas dispute (2020).
  • 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).
  • Goknur v Organic Village Ltd [2019] EWHC 2201 – successfully defending Turkish fruit juice supplier at trial of claim about adulterated fruit juice: claim in deceit defeated.
  • 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).

Product Liability

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“Very pleasant to deal with.” “His advice is absolutely brilliant. You can give him a very complicated set of facts and he just takes control and guides you through what you need to do.” Chambers & Partners, 2021

“His expertise on product liability is invaluable.” Legal 500, 2021

A confident advocate; strong on paper with an eye for detail. Legal 500, 2020

“He is very nice and very approachable. He turns stuff around really, really quickly and his paperwork is great.” Chambers & Partners, 2020

Recommended in both legal directories for his product liability work, recent editions have noted that he is An excellent junior, whose advice is amazingly coherent and concise. He is a superb cross-examiner” and “technically very strong”. 

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 well-known German manufacturer in ongoing multimillion pound dispute concerning defective supply of oil isolation valves for use in domestic boilers.
  • Goknur v Organic Village Ltd [2019] EWHC 2201 – successfully defending Turkish fruit juice supplier at trial of claim about adulterated fruit juice: claim in deceit defeated and no substantive damages (including for lost profits) awarded to claimant, despite established misrepresentation and breach of contract.
  • Various disputes relating to commercial and domestic fires arising from allegedly defective products.
  • Advising toy manufacturer as to potential regulatory action and product recall.
  • Advising as to liability for defects in +£1m MRI imaging equipment produced by well-known electronics producer.
  • Advising as to “take or pay” obligations and non-conforming product in contract for production and supply of carbonating gas.
  • 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 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:

  • Naqvi v Harris Cartier & Ors [2019] EWHC 3042 (QB) – successful summary judgment application for defendant solicitors on £10.2 million claim for allegedly negligent conduct of discrimination claim in employment tribunal.
  • 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.
  • 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).

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:

  • Advising and acting for Marshalls Islands company in claim against BVI company for order for rectification of company register of members and associated declaratory relief.
  • 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

Languages

  • French
  • German
  • Spanish

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