Regulatory, Health & Safety & Licensing
Matthew is an experienced advocate in regulatory cases in the Crown Court, Magistrates’ Courts and disciplinary Tribunals; for prosecuting or regulating authorities and for defendants.
He has a strong track record in the following areas of regulatory law:
- Health & Safety
- Fire Safety
- Food Safety and Environmental Health
- Trading Standards and Consumer Protection
- Planning Enforcement
- Agricultural Law
- Animal Welfare (including RSPCA and Hunting Act prosecutions)
- Environmental Law
- Care Standards
- Local Government Standards
- Disciplinary Hearings
- Judicial Review
Matthew provides prompt, clear and comprehensive written advice relating to all aspects of regulatory law. He recognises the importance of meticulous preparation and minute attention to detail, and frequently wins cases because his detailed knowledge of the law enables him to identify technical flaws in the other side’s case.
- R v. DH & Others (ongoing) Defence Counsel for corporate defendant in a case of alleged manslaughter and related health and safety offences at a North London trading estate.
- R v. N.D. Ltd (ongoing) Defending a large provider of social housing accused of supplying inadequate asbestos surveys to contractors.
- R v. DSI Ltd & Others (2014) Represented an individual defendant in a substantial HSE prosecution relating to the dangerous installation of boilers and flues in two large housing developments, leading to dozens of cases of CO poisoning. The HSE offered no evidence on the first day of trial following submissions on the extent of the defendant’s duty to make himself aware of technical bulletins produced by CORGI, and on the inherent safety of flue systems used in the developments.
- R v. Barry Price (2014) Defended a landowner accused of polluting the river Eden with runoff from lakes being excavated in nearby woodland. BP entered a guilty plea, and was sentenced to an absolute discharge, with no order for costs.
- R v. Angus Ltd (2014) Defended a specialist asbestos removal company charged by the HSE with multiple breaches of health and safety regulations arising from removal of asbestos at a primary school (defendant company went into administration before the case could be tried).
- R v. LH (2014) Represented a registered nurse (and care home owner) accused of administering medication without prescription following the death of an elderly resident. All charges dismissed, following submissions that the CPS had brought the charges under a repealed provision of the Medicines Act 1968, and were not a competent prosecuting authority under the Human Medicines Regulations 2012.
- Malcolm Foster v. DPP (2013) EWHC 3885 (Admin) Represented the appellant in an appeal by way of case stated against his conviction for depositing 5,000 gallons of slurry in a large active badger sett. Conviction quashed, as the Justices had wrongly applied a Caldwell-style objective test for recklessness.
- R (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) v. Contractors Network Ltd (2013) Successful defence of a recruitment agency and its managing Director; accused of arcane breaches of the Conduct Regulations. The Conduct Regulations were held not to apply, as the complainant was not ‘under the control of’ the hirer for the purposes of section 13 of the Employment Agencies Act 1973, or Regulation 2 (b) of the Conduct Regulations. The Court found that there was no evidence that the individual director was criminally culpable.
- Nottinghamshire County Council v. CW & Others (2013) Represented a child minder in public law care proceedings, where CW was included by the local authority in the pool of potential perpetrators of throttling injuries to a child. CW was excluded as a suspect after a 5-day contested hearing.
- R (L.B. Camden) v. IJ (2013) Defence of maintenance manager at a five-star central London hotel, where a guest and staff member were seriously injured after drinking tea from an urn containing a corrosive industrial descaler. Proceedings were withdrawn after negotiation, and J accepted a caution.
- R (Thurrock Council) v. Impulse Leisure Ltd (2012) Represented a leisure centre operator on charges arising out of the electrocution of a 3 year old boy by a faulty hairdryer. Low fines imposed and the Council’s costs reduced by 45%.
- R (Crawley Borough Council) v. McDonald’s Ltd (2012) Represented McDonald’s, accused of various food safety offences following an incident where a young girl choked on a metal bar in a milkshake. The Council withdrew all charges that alleged failures in HACCP procedures, and McDonald’s pleaded guilty to one charge under s.14 FSA 1990.
- R (HSE) v. Corgi Hosiery Ltd (2012) Represented a Royal warrant-holding company which exposed its employees to asbestos fibres during the replacement of its roof, and was described by the HSE as the worst exposure its witnesses had ever seen. Sentenced on a restricted (and very favourable) basis. The HSE’s costs were reduced by 75%.
- R v. Sumal & Sons Ltd (2011) Secured the first confiscation order imposed following a landlord’s conviction for offences under s.95 Housing Act 2004, for failing to comply with selective licensing requirements (subsequently overturned by the Court of Appeal).
- R (Environment Agency Wales) v. IP (2011) Represented a farmer accused of interfering with bovine tuberculosis (bTB) tests in a number of his cattle, by injecting a poisonous substance into the animals’ necks in order to create a false positive reaction to the test. The case was dismissed following a submission of no case to answer (Lane and Lane  82 CAR 5 applied).
- HSE v. James Miller (Kelham) Ltd (2011) Represented a farm, where serious injuries were caused to a farm worker in a fall through a fragile roof. Fines totalling only £4,000 imposed.
- R v. Edamy Ltd & Carl Parsons (2011) Food safety prosecution of a McDonalds franchise where a child had choked on a bolt in a Happy Meal. Edamy Ltd entered a guilty plea to one offence and all five charges against the individual defendant were discontinued.
- R v. Carter & Others (2011) Represented three farm workers charged with destruction of a badger sett. All acquitted, one following a submission of no case to answer.
- Environment Agency v. Clive Breeze & Breeze Farms Ltd (2011) Significant pollution incident in which 3,500 salmon and sea trout were killed in the River Cych. All charges dropped against the individual defendant. Successful appeal against sentence in respect of the corporate defendant at Carmarthen Crown Court.
- Wigan Borough Council v. Cllr Robert Brierley (2010) First Tier Tribunal proceedings in which the respondent was accused of bringing the Council into disrepute and bullying the pastor of a local church in an attempt to secure the use of the church building for a residents’ group. After a contested hearing, Cllr Brierley was cleared of all alleged breaches of the code of conduct.
- JP v. OFSTED (2010) Represented the appellant, JP, in her appeal against the suspension of her registration as a childminder before the Care Standards Tribunal. The Tribunal upheld her appeal on the basis of a preference for the appellant’s expert evidence over that of both the jointly instructed expert and OFSTED’s own expert, and acceptance of the appellant’s legal submissions as to the correct interpretation of the statutory test in light of Arts 6, 8 and 14 ECHR.
- R (London Borough of Newham) v. Mitchells & Butlers PLC (2010) Prosecution (as junior alone) of a multinational company for causing the death of an employee, who was asphyxiated while cleaning machinery in a bowling alley. The defendant company entered guilty pleas following successful negotiations
- R v. Samuel Jones (2009) Represented the defendant in a case involving 31 offences against the TDA 1974 and Fraud Act 2006. 11 of these charges were dismissed following submissions of no case to answer.
Matthew is instructed in a wide spectrum of licensing cases, and has experience of practice in all the following specialist areas:
- Liquor licenses
- Gaming licenses
- Taxi licences
- Hot refreshments and roadside trading
- Regulated entertainment
- Firearms licensing
- ‘Selective Licensing’ under Housing Act 2004, and HMO licensing
He is a member of the Institute of Licensing.
Matthew represents both local authorities and licence holders (or applicants) ranging from small family-run pubs to multi-national companies such as Iceland Foods and McDonald’s.
He is familiar with all stages of the licensing process, from the first application before Council licensing sub-committees (where he has acted both for applicants and as the Council’s legal adviser), through appeals at the Magistrates’ Court, to appeals to the High Court by way of case stated or judicial review.
He has demonstrated a record of success in contested applications, and solid judgement in negotiating settlements. He has a good grasp of the technicalities of licensing law and procedure, and uses this to his clients’ advantage.
- Pinnington v. Transport for London (2013) EWHC 3656 (Admin) Successful appeal against the Justices’ refusal of a renewed black cab licence, where P had been convicted of possession of cannabis and had driven for some months following the lapse of his licence. P was awarded his costs in the appeal and in the lower Court.
- MC v. Southwark LBC (2013) Appeal against the revocation of the licence of a London public house, where smoking, underage drinking, violence and class A drug dealing took place on the premises. Appeal resolved by way of a consent order and licence restored following negotiations with the licensing authority, and a change of staff.
- R (on the application of the London Borough of Newham) v. Stratford Magistrates’ Court  EWHC 325 (Admin) Challenge to the defendant Magistrates’ Court’s refusal to state a case in response to an adverse costs decision in a licensing appeal. The Court granted judicial review, and overturned the lower Court’s award of costs.
- Re Fabric Night Club (2011) Matthew advised and drafted submissions on behalf of Fabric, when the Police and Islington Council attempted to close the club early on the weekend following the 2011 August riots. On receipt of written submissions on the limit of the Justices’ powers under s.160 Licensing Act 2003, the Police withdrew their request.
- UKPP Ltd (The Old Brewery) v. Torbay Council (2011) Represented the appellant public house, whose licence had been revoked following repeated complaints of nuisance. The Council took an extremely aggressive approach to the case, attempting unsuccessfully to strike out the appeal at an early stage owing to the late payment by UKPP of a Court fee. At appeal, the Council was represented by Philip Kolvin QC. Following negotiations, the case settled on conditions almost identical to those offered by UKPP (and refused by the Council) at the start of proceedings.
- George’s (March) Ltd v. Fenland District Council (2011) Matthew was instructed in a licensing case and in linked criminal proceedings to represent the appellant public house and its landlord, who had been unlawfully expelled from the premises by the Police following a struggle for control of the business with his former business partners, and refused a premises (liquor) licence. The criminal charges of assaulting Police officers were dismissed following submissions of no case to answer, with the District Judge describing the prosecution as a disgrace. The premises licence was subsequently restored to the landlord.
- Sun Chul Lim (Forest & Ocean PH) v. Spelthorne DC (2011) Advised and drafted grounds of appeal for a large pub/ nightclub whose licensing hours had been substantially reduced on review. On receipt of written submissions, the Council consented to the restoration of the original licensing hours and a contested appeal was avoided.