"Blossoming into a
real force in relation to High Court work.” Legal 500 (2015)
"Has impressed with his work on
restrictive covenants…” "He
has gravitas, but he also adopts a friendly and approachable demeanour.” "A talented and robust advocate who can pick
through the detail to get to good points.” Chambers & Partners (2015)
bright and quick to identify the key issues.” "A prominent junior with an impressive roster
of blue-chip respondent clients.” "He
understands the needs of modern day clients and is able to work alongside
instructing solicitors effectively.” Chambers & Partners (2014)
gives ‘extremely spot on advice’, is ‘extra hard working’ and has ‘excellent
people skills’ sources say...” Chambers & Partners (2013)
Matthew treats every instruction as an opportunity to impress and to build and strengthen relationships. He believes in rigorous legal analysis, meticulous preparation and well-judged advocacy, whilst also being responsive and user-friendly.
Called to the Bar in 2000, the focus of Matthew’s High Court practice is business competition: confidential information, restrictive covenants and springboard relief, particularly in a team move context. He regularly makes and resists injunction applications. Principal areas of Matthew’s Tribunal practice include complex discrimination claims, whistleblowing, TUPE and employee/worker status.
Matthew has experience across a variety of sectors: banking/finance, publishing, the legal sector, the pharmaceutical industry, recruitment, security, religious institutions, telecommunications, the health sector and professional regulatory bodies.
considerable experience of acting in breach of employment contract and business
competition cases (particularly in relation to applications for injunctive
relief). He has expertise in relation to abuse of confidential
information/database rights, enforcing restrictive covenants, springboard relief,
diversion of business opportunities and all of the other issues which arise in
the context of team moves. He also regularly acts in relation to bonus claims
and other contractual claims arising from employment contracts.
Matthew has acted
for clients ranging from multi-national pharmaceutical corporations to
recruitment consultants. Some recent cases include:
- acted successfully on behalf of a well-known City-based
foreign exchange brokerage house to prevent competition by a ‘desk’ (team) of employees
which sought to move to a competitor.
- acted for a team of defendant employees who worked in
the marine insurance broking industry in resisting an injunction application by
which their former employer sought to prevent them from working for a
- acted for defendants who, in the context of a failed
management buy-out, were alleged to have conspired to divert their employer’s
customers to a new company and to have poached staff (led by Selwyn Bloch QC).
- acted for a major telecommunications company in
defending a breach of contract claim by a senior executive when the role which he
was offered (and accepted) was subsequently withdrawn prior to his starting
employment (the claimant having already resigned from his previous employment).
- applied successfully for injunctive relief in
support of an action for breach of confidence (unlawful accessing of emails) involving
issues of private international law (jurisdiction and choice of law).
extensive experience of resisting and bringing statutory employment claims at
Tribunal, Employment Appeal Tribunal and Court of Appeal level. In particular
he has expertise in relation to the following types of claims:
victimisation and harassment
of contract and unlawful deductions
The following are some
examples of Matthew’s most recent cases:
- X v International Law Firm: acted for a major international law firm in
defending claims of religious discrimination brought by the claimant when her
applications for partnership failed. The claimant had been seconded to and then
employed by a separate Dubai-based entity. The case therefore involved
difficult questions about the territorial reach of the Equality Act 2010 (led
by Thomas Linden QC).
- X & Y v Global Business Publisher: acted successfully for the respondent (part
of a FTSE 100 and FTSE Global 500 group of companies) in defending
whistleblowing claims brought by two sales managers. The claimants alleged that
the company was involved in systematic breaches of international trade
sanctions (under UK and US law) by providing embargoed countries like Syria
with the tools to move money around the world (thereby allegedly facilitating
terrorism). The case attracted media interest. The claims failed.
- X v Investment Bank: Matthew acted for a well known investment
bank in defending claims of race discrimination. The claims were settled on
extremely favourable terms following several interim hearings at which Matthew
appeared (and prior to the bank having to incur significant costs on disclosure
or witness statements).
- Pemberton v The Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham: Matthew is acting for a Bishop in the Church
of England in defending a claim of sexual orientation discrimination brought by
a priest who entered into a same sex marriage. In addition to further defining
the extent to which employment law applies to priests in the Church of England,
the case will determine the lawfulness of the Church of England’s prohibition
on same sex marriage amongst clergy. Consideration will be given to the ambit
of the exemptions for religious organisations contained in the Equality Act
Links to press coverage:
- Reverend Mark Sharpe v (1) The Worcester Diocesan
Board of Finance; (2) The Bishop of Worcester (CA/A2/2014/0112): a test case concerning the
employment status of incumbent clergy of the Church of England. Matthew is
being led by Thomas Linden QC. Reverend Sharpe is represented by John Bowers QC
(Co-Head of Littleton Chambers). The case is listed to be heard by the Court of
Appeal in February 2015.
- Reverend Mark Sharpe v (1) The Worcester Diocesan Board of Finance; (2) The Bishop of Worcester  ICR D9 (EAT) - Employment status of clergy in the Church of England.
- King v Royal Bank of Canada  IRLR 280 (EAT) - Correct approach to compensation (Polkey) in unfair dismissal cases.
- Law Society of England & Wales v Secretary of State for Justice and another  IRLR 407 (High Court, QBD) - Claim for declaratory relief as to the application of TUPE and the Henke exception for public administrative authorities.
- Lindley v Perry’s Motor Sales Ltd  All ER (D) 32 (EAT) - TUPE, transfer of rights and liabilities.
- Gravell v Bexley London Borough Council  All ER (D) 291 (EAT) - Strike out of discrimination claims.
- Davis v Pyrz  All ER (D) 160 (EAT) - Employer’s counterclaims- measure of damages.
- Khan v Premier Private Hire Taxi  All ER (D) 134 (EAT) - Strike out of claims on paper.
- Baron v Bliss Mediation Services  All ER (D) 473 (EAT) - Remedy of procedural unfairness by internal appeal.
- Mayo-Deman v University of Greenwich  IRLR 845 (EAT) - Validity of compromise agreements.
- Rabahallah v British Telecom Plc  ICR 440,  IRLR 184 (EAT) - Rules on composition of employment tribunals.
- Holland v BHS  All ER (D) 5 (EAT) - Unfair dismissal- range of reasonable responses.
- Greaves v Banner Business Supplies Ltd  All ER (D) 26 (EAT) - Indirect sex discrimination- test for justification.
- Maresca v Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre  All ER 254,  ICR 197 - Application of the Civil Procedure Rules in the Employment Tribunals.
2000 (Gray’s Inn)
College, University of Cambridge, Law (MA)
of the Employment Law Bar Association (ELBA)
Bar Association (COMBAR).
lectures and leads seminars on a broad range of topics both in-house for
solicitors as well as on public courses including for the Employment Lawyers
claims in the High Court and the Employment Tribunal
- Employment status: Worker, Employee or Neither?