Matthew is a multi-disciplinary practitioner. Having been called to the Bar in 2004, and completed pupillage the following year he has experience of a range of practise areas, which often overlap. Matthew began his career as a criminal practitioner, and has retained a busy Crown Court practice. He has also developed a substantial public law practice, focussing on judicial reviews on behalf of prisoners, bereaved families, and other cases with a civil liberties angle. He appears at inquests, and acts in civil claims against public authorities. Matthew has a particular interest in miscarriages of justice work, whether through appearing in the Court of Appeal Criminal Division, or in Human Rights claims and actions against the police. He runs a website, appealsbarrister.com, which provides plain English information about the criminal appeals process and occasional blogs on topics of interest.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Crime and Miscarriages of Justice
Matthew acts on behalf of defendants in a range of cases before the Crown Court, but with a particular focus in historical sex cases and drugs conspiracies. He regularly acts on behalf of those accused of historical crimes, and has considerable experience of the work involved in seeking to defend such allegations (for example, R v Curran (October 2015) – acting on behalf of a former teacher acquitted at trial). Matthew adopts a client-focussed approach, and is always happy to meet with professional and lay clients as frequently as the case demands. He is a trial advocate, and is always happy to run a trial. He is equally happy to provide ad hoc advice to professional clients, and undertakes regular direct access work.
Matthew’s criminal practise is complimented by his specialist appeals practice, both in this jurisdiction and in Northern Ireland. He has been involved in a number of significant cases, including R v Hunter  2 Cr App R 9, a leading case on good character directions. He has acted in a number of CCRC referrals, such as R v Chakwana and judicial review challenges to CCRC decisions, such as R (Raymond Morris) v CCRC. He is currently instructed on behalf of miscarriage of justice victim Victor Nealon in his challenge to the miscarriage of justice compensation scheme, which will be heard by the Supreme Court in May 2018.
Public Law and Civil Liberties
Matthew is instructed to act on behalf of claimants in cases across the public law spectrum, in particular those with a human rights or civil liberties aspect. This includes cases involving prisoners’ rights and the rights of bereaved families: both at inquests and in judicial review proceedings. He recently acted for the family of a prisoner who died in contentious circumstances. He was also involved in a successful challenge involving the sex offender notification requirements R (NE) v Birmingham Magistrates’ Court and he is acting in an ongoing lead case on procedural fairness in category A prisoner cases (R(Hassett) v Secretary of State for Justice, which is being appealed by the Supreme Court.
- R v Curran  (Leeds Crown Court) – former teacher; historic allegations of assault and indecent assault - prosecution case withdrawn after submissions from counsel. Led by Nina Grahame (instructed by Paula Porter of Thompsons Solicitors). Media coverage.
- R (Nealon and Anr) v Secretary of State for Justice  EWHC 1565 (Admin) (Divisional Court rejects claim that miscarriage of justice compensation provisions.
Leading Junior Administrative and Public Law: Northern and North Eastern (2016) "Centres his public law practice on matters concerning human rights and civil liberties. He has an interest in points of statutory construction and equalities law and frequently handles cases concerning the rights of prisoners and bereaved families." "He's tenacious, goes the extra mile and is very personable." "One of the benefits of instructing him is you can give him a considerable wealth of paperwork and he can home in and elucidate clearly." Recent work: Acted in a challenge to the Secretary of State for Justice regarding the decision to refuse claimant compensation to a victim of a miscarriage of justice." Chambers and Partners 2016
Leading Junior Civil Liberties and Human Rights: Northern (2016) "A specialist public law barrister who is well versed in criminal law. He has a diverse human rights practice and is instructed to act for victims of miscarriages of justice seeking compensation, as well as for bereaved families in judicial reviews and inquests." Chambers and Partners 2016
Leading Junior Administrative and Public Law: Northern (2015) "Focuses on handling public law actions on behalf of claimants, typically founded in the areas of prison law and the rights of women. He is particularly interested in equality and statutory construction issues. "The standard of his work is excellent. He's very clear and concise in the arguments he puts forward, and anticipates and deals with contrary positions." "He is very dynamic and passionate about his work." Acted for the claimant in a successful judicial review challenging the decision of the Justice Secretary not to award compensation to the claimant as a victim of a miscarriage of justice." Chambers & Partners 2015
Leading Junior Civil Liberties and Human Rights: Northern (2015) "Specialises in human rights actions relating to miscarriages of justice, the rights of prisoners and the representation of bereaved families at inquests. He has a further interest in points of discrimination and equality."He's very enthusiastic and is definitely an up-and-coming figure; he has a good reputation in prisoners' rights work." He acted in a judicial review challenge to the Justice Secretary's policy on strip-searching female prisoners, founded on the contention that a failure to balance the risk to their mental health against security considerations breached their rights under Article 8 ECHR." Chambers & Partners 2015
PUBLICATIONS & SEMINARS
Matthew runs a website runs a website, appealsbarrister.com, which provides plain English information about the criminal appeals process and periodic blogs on topics of interest. In addition he is a semi-regular contributor to the Justice Gap. He delivers regular seminars on a range of topics, including criminal law, appeals, public law and prison law.