Matthew joined Chambers in 2002 following two years in the litigation department of Wragge & Co (now Gowling WLG (UK) LLP). He has developed an impressive chancery/commercial practice with a particular specialism in insolvency.
He regularly appears in the specialist courts in both London and Birmingham and whilst Matthew’s commercial practice is founded on significant and substantial insolvency and company law expertise, he also specialises in the areas of Banking and Financial Services; Commercial Fraud and Asset Tracing; and Professional Liability all of which combine to allow him to provide his clients with a wide commercial law service.
As part of his commercial practice, Matthew is regularly instructed in a variety of contractual disputes, concerning companies, partnerships and individuals. He has significant trial experience as well as being well-versed in obtaining all types of commercial injunction and other interim relief. Matthew is well respected by his peers, instructing solicitors, professional lay clients and Judges alike for both his legal abilities, on paper and in Court, and his common sense, commercial approach to issues and disputes. He has a loyal following from both solicitors and lay clients, for whom Matthew is their first choice Counsel, and is regularly instructed to act on behalf of several multi-national banks, a private equity house, a large national brewery and a number of insolvency practitioners from national firms.
Matthew has been recommended consistently over a number years in the legal directories in the areas of Commercial Dispute Resolution and Restructuring/Insolvency (Chambers and Partners); and Commercial, Banking, Insolvency and Chancery Law (Legal 500), being praised as being, amongst other things, “an impressive junior with experience appearing in high-value corporate, banking and commercial fraud litigation” and “knowledgeable, commercial, user-friendly and good on his feet”. He is a regular contributor to Corporate Rescue and Insolvency as well as being a speaker at many in-house and externally organised seminars.
Matthew is married with two young children and is a sports enthusiast. Having played Premier League cricket for the best part of 20 years, he now plays as much golf as time affords and is a qualified UKCC Level 2 rugby coach, having previously played rugby union to a good standard.
Qualifications and Appointments:
University of Kent at Canterbury
- LLB (Hons) in Law (1995-1998)
College of Law
- Legal Practice Course (1999) (commendation)
- Bar Vocational Course (2002) (very competent)
- Buchanan Prize Winner (2002)
Attorney General’s Regional Panel (Civil) 2007 (re-appointed in 2012)
What the Directories Say:
Matthew is recommended as a leading junior in the most recent editions of Chambers and Partners, in the areas of Commercial Dispute Resolution and Restructuring/Insolvency, and in Legal 500 in Commercial, Banking, Insolvency and Chancery Law.
The directories have consistently praised Matthew, describing him as:
- “An accomplished commercial barrister with a particular interest in insolvency law. He provides further guidance in areas such as banking and finance, commercial fraud, company law and professional liability”;
- “A user-friendly litigator who understands the client’s objectives. He is a strong technical advocate who is very bright”;
- “my first port of call. He’s very commercial, good in conference and good on his feet. I can’t recommend him highly enough”
- “A very accommodating and commercial barrister who’s always thinking of the bigger picture”;
- “an impressive junior with experience appearing in high-value corporate, banking and commercial fraud litigation. He is particularly renowned for his insolvency expertise”;
- “Strongly recommended by sources as an excellent all-round advocate who provides a high level of technical expertise, quality advocacy and a user-friendly attitude”;
- “very responsive and provides high-quality commercial and insolvency advice”;
- “knowledgeable, commercial, user-friendly and good on his feet”;
- possessing an “ability to simplify matters and to get to the nub of an issue [that] is second to none”;
- providing a service that “is always of a high standard and he performs admirably in court and in meetings with clients”;
- “punchy, and has a very good commercial head”;
- having “an excellent technical knowledge of insolvency, and an outstanding commercial approach”;
- “subtle or tenacious depending on what is called for”;
- providing “a commercial and pragmatic approach”;
- having “technical knowledge in insolvency matters that is second to none”;
- displaying “great knowledge and commercial awareness”;
- having a “strong reputation for his broad insolvency practice”;
- “an excellent junior who will go far”;
- Advising a Belgian company on enforcement of a substantial debt owed by a UK company pursuant to a distribution agreement with a New York choice of law clause;
- acting for a company in a claim against two former directors and five other associated or connected parties arising from the fraudulent dissipation of company and trust funds;
- acting for a multi-national tobacco retailer in enforcing a guarantee of a multi-million pound debt;
- acting for a guarantor in proceedings to resist a claim by a lender to enforce a guarantee for a multi-million pound debt;
- acting for one side of a partnership dispute concerning hotels in London which included the need to seek court appointed receivers over partnership assets;
- acting for an NHS Trust in connection with a dispute concerning its internal management procedures;
- acting for liquidators in a successful multi-million pound claim against the former directors of a large, national retailer;
- acting for the liquidators of a large and well-known national retailer in successfully opposing a Norwich Pharmacal application for the compulsory disclosure of large volumes of documentation to a creditor;
- acting for a debtor in successfully defeating a winding up petition presented against it in respect of an alleged debt of multiple millions of pounds;
- a claim against LPA Receivers for breach of duty concerning the failure adequately to insure premises against water damage and theft;
- a claim by a company director and shareholder against the company’s former accountants concerning advice given in relation to multiple dividend payments
- Re Kiss Cards Ltd  EWHC 2176 (Ch) – Decisions of HHJ Cooke in a s238 Insolvency Act 1986 claim against a former director’s wife addressing the effect of payments into a joint bank account and the burden of proof in such cases
- Re BW Estates Ltd  EWHC 2156 (Ch) – Decision of HHJ Purle QC confirming the ability of shareholders to informally amend a company’s articles of association and/or ratify the actions of a sole director in appointing administrators over the company pursuant to the Re Duomatic principle; and addressing issues of estoppel and abuse of process in applications by creditors or shareholders for declarations of invalid administration appointments
- Purewal v Countrywide Residential Lettings Ltd  EWCA Civ 1122;  4 W.L.R. 31;  B.P.I.R. 177;  H.L.R. 4;  1 P. & C.R. 11 – Court of Appeal addressing the extent to which LPA Receivers owe duties of care to a bankrupt mortgagor
- Sekhon v Edginton  EWCA Civ 816;  1 W.L.R. 4435;  B.P.I.R. 1397 – Court of Appeal clarifying the proper approach to requests by debtors for an adjournment of the hearing of a bankruptcy petition in order to enable payment to be made.
- Re Kingstons Investments Ltd (In Liquidation) EWHC 1619 (Ch);  B.P.I.R. 959 – Decision on an application appealing a liquidator’s quantification of a claim within a CVL for voting purposes and the effect of potential set-offs in such circumstances
- Re Homedon Ltd  EWHC 1614 (Ch) – Decision of Stuart Isaacs QC on an application to lift a freezing order
- Re BW Estates Ltd  EWHC 517 (Ch);  1 B.C.L.C. 708 – Decision of HHJ Cooke on the extent to which proposed administrators must have a clear plan of how to achieve the statutory purpose on appointment; whether a company can be rescued as a going concern without the administrators necessarily having to take any positive steps; the impact of the directors’ motives for administration on the proposed administrators’ decision to accept appointment
- Re Earthly Energy Ltd  EWHC 1576 (Ch) – Decision of HHJ Purle QC addressing the prospects of achieving a better return for creditors within administration and whether a winding up order should be made as an alternative to an administration order
- Appleyard v Reflex Recordings Ltd  EWHC 4514 (Ch) – The granting of a freezing order pending resolution of an application for an administration order and the provision for legal costs out of the frozen assets
- Re Hotel Company 42 The Calls Ltd  EWHC 3925 (Ch);  B.C.C. 13 – Decision of HHJ Purle QC addressing the nature of a paragraph 99 of Schedule B1 charge in favour of former administrators of a company; how such a charge can be registered at HM Land Registry; how such a charge can be enforced; and whether former administrators can seek and obtain additional security from the Court over and above the paragraph 99 charge
- Re Parmeko Holdings Ltd (In Administration)  B.C.C. 159 – Decision of HHJ Cooke concerning the requirement to seek directions from the Court in the event that administrators’ proposals are not approved by creditors and the need for directions (or approved proposals) in order for administrators to exercise their powers in connection with the administration of a company
- Harris v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills  EWHC 2514 (Ch);  B.C.C. 283;  1 B.C.L.C. 447 – Decision of HHJ Barker QC as to the principles to be applied on an application for permission to act under sections 1A and 17 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986
- Re Marches Credit Union Ltd  EWHC 1731 (Ch) – Decision of HHJ Purle QC confirming the Court’s power to wind up a credit union, its inherent jurisdiction to make a winding up order and exercising the Court’s discretion to waive all service and advertisement provisions in order to make an expedited winding up order
- Sun Legend Investments Ltd v Ho  B.P.I.R. 533 – Decision on whether a foreign judgment, which had not yet been recognised in England, constitutes a “debt” for the purposes of s267 of the Insolvency Act 1986 and can, therefore, form the basis of a bankruptcy petition.
- Darbyshire v Turpin  EWHC 954 (Ch);  B.P.I.R. 558 – Decision of Arnold, J on appeal clarifying that a failure by a Court to make an order pursuant to rule 6.5(6) of the Insolvency Rules 1986 did not prohibit a creditor from presenting a petition but, rather, allowed a creditor to present a petition forthwith
- Re UK Steelfixers Ltd  EWHC 2409 (Ch);  B.C.C. 751 – Court exercising its discretion to refuse to make an administration order, winding the Company up instead, due to a perceived abuse by the Company of s127 Insolvency Act 1986 pre-application
- Re Ramora UK Ltd  EWHC 3959 (Ch);  B.C.C. 672 – Declaration that an out-of-court administrator appointment was valid notwithstanding paragraph 25 of Schedule B1 and an extant winding up petition presented in breach of the interim moratorium.
- Darbyshire v Turpin  EWHC 1115 (QB) – Successfully resisting an appeal before Briggs, J concerning the setting aside of a statutory demand and the proper impact of Fagg v Rushton on third party security in the context of statutory demands
- Friends Provident Life & Pensions Ltd v Evans  EWCA Civ 581 – Successful appeal to the Court of Appeal regarding the liability of an outgoing partner under an indemnity between a partnership and an insurer
- Re Bunting Electric Manufacturing Co Ltd (SSTI v Golby)  EWHC 3345 (Ch);  1 B.C.L.C. 55 – Director’s disqualification case involving issues concerning director’s honest belief at material times, the relevance of causation, both to a finding of unfitness and to any subsequent disqualification period, and the appropriate standard of proof
- Chancery Bar Association (ChBA)
- Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR)
- Midland Chancery and Commercial Bar Association (MCCBA)
- Insolvency Lawyers Association (ILA)
- Association of Business Recovery Professionals (R3)
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Matthew has been a keen sportsman and involved in sport generally for the entirety of his adult life as much of his childhood as he can remember. He enjoys most sports and previously played Under 19 County Cricket and Premier League club cricket for the best part of 20 years and national league rugby union when he was younger (in what was then called North 2).
He is now a UKCC Level 2 rugby coach, coaching at his local rugby club and with the Leicester Tigers Developing Player Programme, and plays golf when time permits and Vets rugby when his body allows. He was also previously the regional chairman of the Lords Taverners charity.
- Representing Lichfield RUFC at the Rugby Football Union appeal hearing in connection with its exclusion from the Womens Premier 15s competition
- Acting for the administrator and then liquidator of Merthyr Tydfil Football Club
- Acting for a national brewer in proceedings concerning a contractual dispute with an English Football League club