Specialises in public and administrative law cases with civil liberties and human rights crossover. He has considerable experience of cases which arise in the context of prison and criminal law.

Overview

Matt, a multi-disciplinary practitioner, is ranked in both the UK Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners. The former describes him as “unafraid to argue novel points of law”, whilst the latter refers to his oral and written submissions as “always excellent” and describes him as an “intense and passionate advocate” and a “very confident, approachable advocate” who is “excellent on his feet”.

Matt’s day-to-day practice is split between inquests and civil claims, usually involving actions against the police. He also frequently accepts instructions an public law cases focusing on judicial reviews on behalf of prisoners, bereaved families and cases with a civil liberties angle. He has acted as leading junior in the criminal and civil jurisdictions, including in the Court of Appeal. He has also appeared in a number of recent cases in the Supreme Court.

Matt runs a website, appealsbarrister.com, which provides plain English information about the appeals process and occasional blogs.

Matt accepts public access instructions from members of the public in cases across the range of his practice areas.

Inquests and public inquiries

Matt frequently appears at inquests on behalf of bereaved families, usually in the context of deaths in custody where he draws upon his substantial experience of prison law and practice. He recently appeared on behalf of the family of David Baker, who died at HMP Garth is 2016. He has particular experience of cases involving allegations of medical negligence as well as those involving self-inflicted deaths.

Civil actions against the police and public authorities

Matt acts in civil claims against public authorities, most frequently the police. He is currently acting for Victor Nealon in his claim against the police resulting from ‘notorious miscarriage of justice’.

Matt accepts cases funded by legal aid as well as conditional fee arrangements in suitable cases.

Matt is involved in bringing claims under the Human Rights Act against a wide range of public authorities and has a particular interest in cases involving failures to investigate and prosecute.

Public law (judicial review)

Matt is instructed to act on behalf of claimants in cases across the public law spectrum, but in particular those with a human rights or civil liberties aspect. He has been involved in a number of recent and high profile cases, including at the highest level. Notable cases include:

Criminal defence and appeals

Having started life at the Bar as a criminal practitioner, Matt continues to accept instructions in some criminal cases. He has a specialist criminal appeals practice and has been involved in a number of leading cases, including R v Hunter [2015] 2 Cr App R 9, the leading case on good character directions. He has acted in a number of Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) referrals and judicial review challenges to CCRC decisions. He is instructed on behalf of miscarriage of justice victim Victor Nealon in his challenge to the miscarriage of justice compensation scheme, which is the subject of a pending application to the European Court on Human Rights.

Notable Cases

Publications and media appearances

Matt 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.

Privacy Notice

Matt’s Privacy Notice may be viewed by clicking here.

Recommendations

Leading Junior Civil Liberties & Human Rights - Northern (Bar): He is highly regarded for his wide-ranging civil liberties practice, encompassing areas such as Court of Protection cases and significant Crown Court matters. His diverse client base includes prisoners, bereaved families and individuals facing criminal charges. He has significant expertise in miscarriage of justice compensation cases. "He has a superior court practice and really stands out." "An excellent advocate." Recent work: Acted in R (Hassett & Price) v Secretary of State for Justice, joined applications for judicial review. The claimants challenged the refusal of the respondent to grant them an oral hearing for their category A reviews.Chambers and Partners 2019
Leading Junior Administrative & Public Law - Northern/North Eastern (Bar): Specialises in public and administrative law cases with a civil liberties and human rights crossover. He has considerable experience of cases which arise in the context of prison and criminal law. He typically acts for claimants in judicial reviews which challenge decisions by the Ministry of Justice, as well as coroners, independent adjudicators and prosecutors. He regularly appears in both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. "Very quick and very efficient." Recent work: Appeared in a challenge concerning the compatibility with Article 6 ECHR of the MoJ's scheme for compensating victims of miscarriages of justice.Chambers and Partners 2019
Bold and unafraid to tackle complex cases.The UK Legal 500 2019
Leading Junior Civil Liberties and Human Rights (Northern): Highly regarded for his wide-ranging civil liberties practice, encompassing areas such as Court of Protection cases, prisoner-related judicial reviews and significant Crown Court matters. His diverse client base includes prisoners, bereaved families and various individuals facing criminal charges. He has significant expertise in miscarriage of justice compensation cases. Strengths: "He's a very good advocate who is excellent on his feet." "A very approachable, confident advocate." Recent work: Acted in R (Victor Nealon) v Secretary of State for Justice, a case concerning the compatibility of the miscarriage of justice compensation scheme with Article 6(2) of the ECHR.Chambers and Partners 2018
Leading Junior Administrative and Public Law (Northern and North Eastern): Specialises in public and administrative law cases with a civil liberties and human rights crossover. He has considerable experience of cases which arise in the context of prison and criminal law. He typically acts for claimants in judicial reviews which challenge decisions by the Ministry of Justice, as well as coroners, independent adjudicators and prosecutors. Strengths: "His oral submissions and written pleadings are always excellent." "An intense and passionate advocate. He is very passionate about his cases and this area of work." Recent work: Represented the claimant in a challenge to the compatibility of the miscarriage of justice compensation scheme with Article 6(2) ECHR. The revised scheme requires applicants to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they are innocent before they are eligible to be compensated, which is alleged to infringe the presumption of innocence.Chambers and Partners 2018
He is unafraid to argue novel points of law. The UK Legal 500 2017
Leading Junior Administrative and Public Law (Northern and North Eastern): Specialises in public and administrative law cases with civil liberties and human rights crossover. He has considerable experience of cases which arise in the context of prison and criminal law. Strengths: "An excellent advocate." Chambers and Partners 2017
Leading Junior Civil Liberties and Human Rights (Northern): Highly regarded for his wide-ranging civil liberties practice, encompassing areas such as Court of Protection cases, miscarriages of justice, prisoner-related judicial reviews and significant Crown Court matters. His diverse client base includes prisoners, bereaved families and various individuals facing criminal charges. Chambers and Partners 2017
Leading Junior Administrative and Public Law (Northern and North Eastern): "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."Chambers and Partners 2016
Leading Junior Civil Liberties and Human Rights (Northern): 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): 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 and Partners 2015
Leading Junior Civil Liberties and Human Rights (Northern): 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 and Partners 2015

 

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