The leading law directories have described Matthew as “an incredible all rounder. His analysis of the law is spot on and his tactical ability is awesome; he is a master of the trial process”; “intellectually brilliant…his ability to argue cases in a coherent and persuasive way is second to none.” Over many years he has been consistently listed as a top practitioner in his chosen fields.
Matthew’s specialisms cover serious and complex criminal work and its overlap with civil litigation:
• crime (including fraud, terrorism, national security and international crime)
• policing, surveillance, RIPA, abuse of process, search warrants and production orders
• media (including privacy and freedom of expression, both nationally and internationally)
• data, technology and information, (including orders for the production of data’ legal issues surrounding use/misuse, regulation and admissibility of personal data, cryptography, and export control)
• criminal related judicial review and public law (including IPCC and CCRC)
• human rights
Matthew is experienced in leading teams through every level of litigation from the early stages of pre-charge investigation and trial, through to the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court. He is one of a very small number of advocates who has been instructed in both the European Court of Human Rights and the International Criminal Court in The Hague. He is frequently instructed in cases because they are factually complex and / or involve novel or unusual points of law.
In 2010 he was one of only three barristers recognised in both civil and criminal fields when appointed Queen’s counsel. He has been leading counsel in major fraud and terrorist trials; large civil claims for damages; public law challenges to policing and government powers, financial, regulatory and disciplinary proceedings (including sports tribunals); challenges relating to freedom of expression and political protest.
Matthew’s trial experience in high profile cases has included cross-examining police officers accused of serious misconduct, Al Qaeda supergrasses, MI5 and MI6 operatives, politicians, tabloid editors and journalists, as well as a wide range of scientific, medical, financial and academic experts.
In addition to the broad practice areas summarised above, Matthew is often instructed because of his significant experience in highly specialist and technical legal areas.
Communications, information and technology: Matthew is internationally recognised for his specialist knowledge relating to legal issues around technology, cryptography, digital surveillance and intrusive powers. He has been lead counsel in a number of key cases arising out of the Edward Snowden disclosures, including acting in high profile cases for the lead international organisations challenging GCHQ in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal and acting for David Miranda who was stopped at Heathrow in 2013 carrying ‘Snowden material’. Matthew has been invited to speak on digital surveillance both by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Investigatory Powers Bill and the American Bar Association Forum on Communications Law. He has advised major international media and communications companies in UK, Europe and the US, on cryptographic regulation and compliance, journalistic privilege, contempt of court, export control and production orders. Matthew’s clients have ranged from defending journalists charged with phone hacking allegations, to prosecuting on behalf of the Information Commissioner’s Office in relation to offences under the Data Protection Act 1998.
Matthew also has a keen practice interest in the criminal and regulatory aspects of developing areas including all aspects of FinTech; blockchain and virtual currency; encryption and cryptography, data regulation and safe harbour rules; and the use of artificial intelligence (particularly by those working in the regulated sector).
National Security and Undercover Policing: Matthew has an extraordinary breadth of experience and detailed knowledge in legal issues relating to national security and undercover policing. His clients have included both individuals and corporates seeking advice on the Official Secrets Acts; and those who have been the subject of executive misconduct in a covert or national security context. He has successfully appealing the convictions of more than 50 persons because of errors by prosecuting authorities relating to undercover policing; has acted in public inquiries and been lead counsel in administrative law challenges relating to the use of covert executive powers.
Private prosecution and Civil litigation connected with criminal matters: Matthew’s longstanding specialism in the interplay of civil and criminal law gives him unusual expertise in the growing field of civil litigation with a criminal impact and vice versa. This includes large civil claims against prosecuting or investigative authorities; civil claims connected with criminal conduct (e.g. protection from harassment; misfeasance in public office; misuse of private or confidential information); as well as challenges to search warrants and production orders. Matthew has also successfully represented those seeking legal redress through criminal prosecutions – both by way of private prosecution and through action resulting in the reconsideration of prosecutorial decisions by prosecuting authorities.
Matthew’s clients have ranged from well known cases of individuals or families seeking justice – such as the parents of Stephen Lawrence and the wife and children of Ian Tomlinson – to senior executives and public figures involved in litigation or the subject of investigation. He has represented individuals facing allegations of widespread financial or business misconduct (e.g. by the SFO, FSA, HMRC, BIS, SEC) and those accused of the most serious forms of terrorism and organised crime. Other bodies within the legal profession, including the Bar Council, have sought Matthew’s expertise or asked him to make submissions on their behalf.
His recent clients have included:
• companies and company directors;
• solicitors firms and partners;
• the victims of police misconduct and miscarriages of justice;
• political and environmental activists
• former police officers, senior government officials and political leaders (both nationally and internationally);
• media celebrities and public figures;
• persons required to give evidence before inquiries (including the Leveson Inquiry);
• journalists under obligation to disclose sources;
• NGOs (e.g. Fair Trials Abroad, World Wildlife Fund; Animal Defenders International and a range of environmental groups)
• private individuals
(A list of recent cases is included in Matthew’s CV)
• Recorder of the Crown Court
• Sports disciplinary tribunal chair
• Co-author of “Criminal Justice and Human and Rights” – Emmerson & Ashworth (2nd Ed); Co-author of “Blackstones Guide to the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005”
• LLB – Cambridge University; LLM Columbia University, New York (LLM)
• Qualified at both English and New York bar.
Matthew is also co-founder and criminal editor of UKSCBlog and is an independent advisor on the criminal justice policy review being conducted by the shadow Justice Secretary.
Matthew accepts instructions under the Bar Council Standard Contractual Terms, details of which can be found here.
“an incredible all rounder. His analysis of the law is spot on and his tactical ability is awesome; he is a master of the trial process”
“intellectually brilliant…his ability to argue cases in a coherent and persuasive way is second to none.