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Besides his thriving education practice (for which see Matthew’s specialist education profile) Matthew’s public law and regulatory practice focuses on two main areas: data protection and privacy and community care/court of protection disputes.
Matthew is a member of the Attorney General’s C Panel of Counsel to the Crown. He regularly acts for a variety of Government organisations in relation to data protection disputes and is currently instructed by the Home Office as junior counsel (led by William Hansen) in the forthcoming country guidance case in the Upper Tribunal on the conditions in Somalia.
He has also been instructed as junior counsel by the Secretary of State for Justice in employment proceedings and also by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a member of the counsel document review team in relation to the litigation arising from the death of Harry Dunn.
Matthew regularly accepts instructions for urgent and out of hours applications as well as international matters.
Data protection, information, technology and privacy
Matthew has a thriving data protection, information, media and privacy law practice and regularly undertakes both contentious and non contentious work in this practice area for a variety of clients including Central Government departments, non departmental public bodies, higher education institutions, companies and individuals. In respect of his contentious work, Matthew acts for both claimants and defendants in disputes before the High Court (Media and Communications List) and the County Court, as well as before specialist tribunals.
He has both legal and practical experience in the media and data protection fields having been appointed as a board adviser, and more recently the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, of a music school.
Recent examples of contentious work undertaken include:
B v Ministry of Defence : settling the defence in a claim in the Media and Communications List for breaches of the UK GDPR, Article 8 ECHR, breach of confidence and misuse of private information.
S v Department for Work and Pensions :settling the defence on behalf of the DWP in a claim in the Media and Communications List for alleged failures to rectify personal data.
H v ACAS : represented ACAS in the County Court successfully securing allocation to the Small Claims Track for a claim for breaches of the UK GDPR, breach of confidence and misuse of private information.
Re: SN : settling a letter before claim against an international corporation for breaches of the UK GDPR that caused significant financial loss to a law firm.
Re: Mr R BS : advising a potential claimant on the merits of a claim under Article 17 of the UK GDPR (the right to be forgotten) involving the in-depth consideration of the journalistic purposes and archiving exemptions under schedule 2 of the Data Protection Act 2018.
Mrs B v A University : advising the university on prospects and evidence, as well as settling a defence and strike out application for a claim for breaches of GDPR, breach of confidence and misuse of private information.
Re: LL : advising on prospects, quantum and evidence in a claim brought for breaches of the GDPR and misuse of private information.
Re: CG : pro bono advice on whether a cyberattack constituted a breach of contract, as well as associated data protection issues.
Re: CS : advising a leading foundation school on their obligations to disclose personal information.
Re: A : considering a claim for malicious falsehood and breach of copyright arising out of an employment dispute.
Re: XX : advising on the data protection obligations of a social worker in respect of potential childcare proceedings.
Re: TSE : advising on the use of personal information by a music school within course materials.
Matthew has experience in respect of claims for malicious falsehood and in securing emergency injunctive relief. He is also happy to act as a libel reader and to provide pre-publication/broadcasting advice.
Following his background working in-house, Matthew has developed expertise beyond his year of call in advising on and drafting a wide array of commercial documentation in the media space. Recent examples of Matthew’s non contentious work include drafting:
- Website terms and conditions
- Affiliate Agreement for a social media company
- A Merchant Agreement for a social media company
- Paid and unpaid contribution agreements for a media organisation
- Sound recording licences
- Data protection clauses
- Complex intellectual property clauses
- Joint Venture Agreements
- Asset Purchase Agreements
- Standard form terms and conditions of business for a social media consultant
- Contracts of employment
- Consultancy agreements.
Court of Protection (health & welfare)/Community Care
Matthew is a Rising Star in Court of Protection and Community Care in the most recent edition of the Legal 500 which comments that his "encyclopedic knowledge of both English and Welsh social care law is an advantage” to instructing solicitors.
He has expertise in all matters that appear before the Court of Protection across both jurisdictions of health & welfare and property & affairs (for Matthew’s property and affairs expertise please see his dedicated property and estates CV).
In light of his public law expertise Matthew is regularly sought after by local authorities to advise on complex issues that arise where young people are transitioning between children and adult services or where there is a need for a holistic understanding of the health, education and social care obligations owing children and adult services departments.
Matthew’s holistic understanding is also regularly sought after in respect of health and welfare proceedings in the Court of Protection in which he regularly represents the Official Solicitor, RPRs, family members, and local authorities. He has experience in ‘tier 3’ matters before High Court Justices.
Recent representative examples of Matthew’s work in community care/Court of Protection include:
DA v BCC: advising the prospective claimant to a judicial review challenge on the legality of the prospective defendant’s policy in relation to the paying of direct payments.
W v SCC: advising the prospective defendant on a challenge to an alleged failure to follow the Working Together guidance, as well as the failure to provide transport to a post-16 learner.
Re: TG: advising on the appropriate response to and legality of a local authority’s threatened proceedings over the estate of the deceased who passed with unpaid care fees.
Re: AM : advising on the appropriate estate structuring to legitimately avoid care home fees through efficient planning.
H Council v JB : advising and representing a local authority in respect of a section 16 challenge concerning P’s capacity to engage in sexual relations and make decisions concerning his education.
B CCG v HJ & Ors : advising and representing P, through the Official Solicitor, in a section 21A challenge concerning a Third Party Personal Health Budget, as well as an urgent issue regarding international travel.
O County Council v JAS : advising and representing a local authority in a section 21A application within which there were issues concerning P’s habitual residence.
B Council v PM : advising and representing a local authority in respect of a DoLS challenge where P resides at an independent specialist college and the interplay between the education and DoLS schemes.
Re: SB : advising a family member and corresponding with a local authority on their behalf concerning allegations that the local authority was unlawfully preventing them from seeing their adult children.
Re: MR :advising and representing P in a dispute over a ward change following the Covid-19 pandemic.
KH v S County Council : advising a local authority on the interplay between the different regimes under the Mental Health Act 1983, s21A Mental Capacity Act and s39 Children and Families Act 2014.
S City Council v JDC & Ors: advising and representing a family member in this long running s21A and contact challenge.
Re: CEM : representing P in a dispute over her end of life arrangements.
Cannabis Law and Regulation
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Cannabis and Pharmaceutical/healthcare regulation
Matthew Wyard is one of a handful of barristers who specialises in the niche provision of regulatory advice and assistance to the medicinal and wellness cannabis industry. He has a particular interest in the regulations concerning the international movement of controlled substances, importing and exporting controlled and psychoactive substances, the legitimate cultivation of hemp based products and the plethora of regulations regarding how to bring pharmaceutical products to market.
Examples of recent cases Matthew has been involved in within the cannabis and pharmaceutical regulatory field include:
- Re: A – Providing advice on the domestic regulatory framework to Middle Eastern and African based joint venturers looking to establish a UK distribution company for the worldwide distribution of cannabis seeds
- Re: MJH – Providing advice in conference to a financial institution on the framework for advising a Channel Island based investment fund on investing in the UK based medicinal cannabis market, including on proceeds of crime (with Nick Cotter)
- Re: KM – Providing advice on the application of the EU Tobacco Products Directive to UK purchasers
- Re: L – Advising on liability and quantum arising from a data breach from an NHS Trust
- Re: V – Advising upon, settling and drafting the settlement agreement in a dispute between the directors of, and consultants for, an international pharmaceutical company as to the apportionment of liability between the company and consultants upon the consultants’ retirement
He is the author of a number of articles on cannabis regulation including: “Novel foods regulation: Getting your product to the UK market (including cannabis-based food products)” which reviews the law regulating novel food products in the UK; “The UK Market Authorisation for new medicinal products” and an “Update on UK tobacco law in light of Article 7 of the EU Tobacco Productive Directive”, which forbids the sale of any tobacco products with a characterising flavour.
Matthew Wyard issued a briefing with Ricardo Geada, who heads the cannabis and regulatory team at Mackrell Solicitors, for businesses continuing to trade cannabinoid products post-Brexit which was also distributed by the Cannabis Trades Association to its members.