Data protection claims: A guide for defendants
Specialist regulatory law barrister, Matthew Wyard looks at the raft of recent claims brought for breaches of statutory duty under the UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018.
Matthew Wyard is a specialist public and regulatory law barrister. His public law practice focuses on education and community care/ court of protection. His regulatory practice focuses on the regulation of data, technology and cannabis/pharmaceutical products. He has appeared in courts/tribunals of all levels up to and including the Court of Appeal.
For a full description of Matthew’s areas of expertise please see his specialist profiles below.
Matthew was appointed to the Attorney General's C Panel of Counsel to the Crown in 2021 and is recognised as a Rising Star in the latest edition of the Legal 500 for three of his practice areas (education, court of protection and community care) having secured all three rankings on his first year of application. He is the only member of the bar outside of chambers in Wales to be ranked in both the Welsh education and court of protection rankings.
Having spent his first few years of practice as an employed public law barrister at a national law firm regularly instructing counsel himself, Matthew understands what instructing solicitors want from counsel and ensures that he is accessible, practical in his advice and a part of the wider litigation team in disputes.
Alongside his thriving practice, Matthew sits as a Chairman in the Valuation Tribunal for England and is non-executive director of a music and media business, Thinkspace Education.
Matthew is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. Please contact him for a copy of his privacy notice which sets out the basis upon which any personal data he may receive will be protected.
Matthew is a widely published legal author acting as a contributing editor to Clarke Hall and Morrison on Children and a regular contributor to Lexis PSL, providing updates on the law to the legal profession. He has also been published in The Times Higher Education, the Education Law Monitor and the Solicitors Journal. Matthew is currently writing for the forthcoming, inaugural edition of the new Education Law Handbook.
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:
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 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:
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.
Please see Matthew’s considerable and specific education CV for more information.
Matthew Wyard has practised in the field of education law since before his call to the Bar and is recognised as a Rising Star in the education field in the Legal 500. He acts for parents of disabled children, young people, students, schools, colleges, universities, local authorities and anyone else involved in disputes within the education sector. Having spent a significant time practicing in Wales, Matthew is experienced in advising on the devolved education system.
A busy education law barrister, examples of Matthew’s caseload in education is set out below:
Special Educational Needs (SEN)
Matthew is one of only a handful of barristers who has an understanding of, and experience in, both the English and Welsh special educational needs systems. Whilst almost all of Matthew’s special educational needs work is confidential, he has appeared in over 100 appeals/claims representing all parties in all types of appeal before SENDIST and SENTW. Additionally, Matthew has appeared in the Upper Tribunal and in judicial review challenges arising out of the special educational needs system.
Most recently, Matthew was instructed as junior counsel for the successful respondents in Nottinghamshire County Council v SF & GD  EWCA Civ 226, before the Court of Appeal, concerning the interpretation of “necessary” under section 37 of the Children and Families Act 2014 and to seek leave for appeal to the Court of Appeal following the decision in D v Hampshire County Council  EWHC 2916 (Admin).
He is an expert on the new special education needs system planned in Wales for 2021 and is undertaking training for Schools on the changes and demands of the new law.
Having worked in house he also has experience attending annual reviews, dispute resolution meetings and mediations.
Disability discrimination claims in the First Tier Tribunal are becoming increasingly common. Matthew regularly advises and represents schools defending such claims with a particular interest in defending independent schools and academies.
He is familiar with all aspects of the Equality Act 2010 and is frequently instructed by leading insurance firms upon receipt of a claim to assist devise case strategy, advise on prospects, advise on evidence and then attend the final hearing.
He has an enviable success rate and enjoys working with key stakeholders and responsible bodies to ensure that those claims that should be defended are done so thoroughly, whilst protecting reputational and other interests.
Judicial review challenges to legality of decisions made by Admissions Authorities, Independent Review Panels (England) and Independent Appeal Panels (Wales) are Matthew’s main area of focus in admissions and exclusion matters.
That being said, Matthew is more than happy to assist at all stages of the admissions and exclusions processes.
Having spent his first few years working in-house in the public law and commercial litigation departments of a national public law firm, Matthew is well placed to advise from the outset on all forms of civil litigation in the education sector.
Examples of the claims Matthew has been instructed in recently include:
SPS v Mr and Mrs P : advising the respondents on the prospects of success in defending a claim for fees in lieu of notice including the detailed consideration of multiple breaches of contract from both parties to identify the fundamental breach of contract.
N v University of E : advising the prospective claimant on a claim for breach of contract arising from the failure of her university to secure social work placements.
GY v University of O : claim for breach of contract and/or negligence against the country’s leading higher education institution for a failure to remove the student from a PhD course when it became clear she could not succeed.
MK v K College : claim for negligence against a medical school for how it conducted a fitness to practise process, resulting in a six figure settlement for lost earnings.
AS v K College : claim for breach of contract against a London college for failing to appropriately deal with bullying.
O University v JH : defending a claim for unpaid university fees.
Re: CN : claim against an independent school for breach of contract and breach of the Equality Act 2010 in how it handled the exclusion of a child, resulting in a five-figure settlement.
Matthew is happy to be instructed as early as possible in all civil matters in order to assist manage expectations and develop the initial case strategy.
Matthew has depth of experience in education public law challenges. These have included:
YMC v Office of Intercollegiate Studies : representing the claimant in what is thought to be the first judicial review challenge brought against the Office of Intercollegiate Studies.
MA v B University : advising on the grounds for judicial review arising from a university’s failure to grant extenuating circumstances.
JP v IAP : advising on the legality of an Independent Admissions Panel decision.
AT v An Academy : advising on the grounds of challenge to an Academy’s procedure for conducting a managed move which successfully settled at the pre action stage
Re: DR : advising on the merits of bringing a judicial review claim against a London Borough for maintaining a policy on not placing children below 16 in children’s homes.
DJ v The Welsh Ministers & Ors  EWHC 2735 (Admin) : challenge to the Welsh Ministers Guidance on post-16 education.
Thilakawardhana v OIA  EWCA Civ 13 : application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal and the substantive appeal.
Zahid v University of Manchester  EWHC 188 (Admin) : leading authority on the relationship between the courts and the OIA.
DS v Wolverhampton City Council  EWHC 1660 (Admin) Considering the application of s19 of Education Act 1996.
AC v OIA (unreported) : considering the legality of the OIA’s rules.
For more information please see his public law expertise section of his CV.
Matthew has experience advising schools and higher education institutions on a wide range of governance and employment issues including information law obligations. Additionally, he has drafted and advised upon various policies, procedures and contractual documents.
Matthew property practice relates solely to property and affairs matters in the Court of Protection (for health & welfare please see Matthew’s public law profile).
Alongside his barrister’s practice Matthew sits as a Chair in the Valuation Tribunal for England.
Court of Protection (Property & Affairs)
Matthew is a "Rising Star" barrister in Court of Protection in the most recent edition of the Legal 500 and has a burgeoning property and affairs practice. Recent examples of Matthew’s work in this jurisdiction include:
Office of the Public Guardian v LK : advising and representing the defendant attorney on an application for removal sought by the OPG.
Re: AA : advising a HNW client in conference and in writing on the options for protecting the assets of an incapacitated family member, including considering the appropriateness of a deputyship order or the settlement of a trust structure.
Re: JS : advising professional deputies on the proper construction of an indemnity clause within a PPO arising from a £1.7m clinical negligence settlement and on their obligations pursuant to the same.
Re: DS : advising an attorney on the legalities and procedure surrounding the transfer of property at an undervalue within civil proceedings where the defendant had lost capacity.
GB v SW : advising and representing the defendant family member contesting a property and affairs deputyship application on the basis of alleged historic financial abuse.
S City Council v KSC : advising and representing a local authority in a contested application for a deputyship order over P’s property and affairs following his falling victim to online fraud.
Re: LCD : advising a national law firm’s private client department on the risks arising out of the transfer of property from a PI trust and the appropriate method of making the transfer.
Data protection claims: A guide for defendants
Specialist regulatory law barrister, Matthew Wyard looks at the raft of recent claims brought for breaches of statutory duty under the UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018.
Ransomware attacks: a practical guide to survival
Specialist regulatory law barrister Matthew Wyard addresses the risk of a ransomware attack and considers the practical steps that businesses and public bodies urgently need to take in order to pre-empt such an event and what to do if disaster strikes.
Importation and exportation of cannabinoid products post-Brexit
3PB’s Matthew Wyard, a specialist regulatory barrister has issued a briefing, in tandem with Ricardo Geada, head of the cannabis and regulatory team at law firm Mackrell Solicitors aimed at companies working within the CBD industry post-Brexit.
The briefing is a must-read for all businesses continuing to trade cannabinoid products post-Brexit and has been distributed by the Cannabis Trades Association to its members.
3PB's specialist regulatory law barrister Matthew Wyard reviews the case of A Local Authority v GP (Capacity – care, support and education)  EWCOP 56.
Public law barrister Matthew Wyard, who specialises in the education sector reviews the hidden extras in ‘The Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018 (Commencement No.1) Order 2020 which came into force this Monday 2 November.
3PB’s specialist education barristers Alice de Coverley and Matthew Wyard have co-authored a two-part report, for students and schools separately, about today’s GCSE results day (20 August 2020).
The guidance offers tips for students and their parents about the GCSE grade that students will receive; the appeals process in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; Exam results Helplines available; Subject Access Requests for finding out information to support you in pushing for an appeal; grounds for appeals; Centres’ duties to students/learners.
In this article, Alice de Coverley and Matthew Wyard answer some of the most significant questions facing both students and schools on A-level results day 2020, providing practical advice on what to do next.
3PB’s specialist public law barrister Matthew Wyard has reviewed the draft Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) bill. The bill was introduced to the Senedd on 6 July 2020 without prior public consultation.
3PB’s Public and Regulatory Law barrister Matthew Wyard has reviewed the law regulating novel food products in the UK.
3PB’s Public and Regulatory Law barrister Matthew Wyard has provided an update on UK tobacco law in light of Article 7 of the EU Tobacco Productive Directive.
3PB’s Public and Regulatory barrister Matthew Wyard has provided an overview of the MHRA’s Market Authorisation process for bringing new products to market in the UK. Designed for the pharmaceutical industry and those advising them, this article looks at the different types of authorisation available and the process for approving medicines in the UK.
Matthew Wyard and Alice de Coverley have produced a guide to remote hearings in SENDIST including practical top tips for both practitioners and witnesses. They cover topics from using technology to adapting your approach to this new style of hearing.
Matthew Wyard considers the meaning of "reasonable endeavours" in public and private law following the modification of the LA's duty to secure special educational provision specified in an EHC Plan under section 42 to a reasonable endeavours duty, and the likely approach of the Administrative Court to applications to enforce provision in Section F via judicial review.
Education law barrister, Matthew Wyard examines the impact of the Coronavirus Bill on the independent education sector.
Education and public law barrister Matthew Wyard and Paul Wyard of Sinclairslaw review Nottinghamshire CC v SF and another, a case in which the Court of Appeal held that the First-Tier Tribunal had correctly construed the meaning of ‘necessary’ in section 37(1) of the Children and Families Act 2014 (CFA 2014) in finding that it was necessary for special educational provision to be made for a child in accordance with an EHC Plan – even though the school had identified and made provisions for the child’s needs and the child was making progress at school.
This article was first published by LexisPSL on 9 March 2020.
Matthew Wyard analyses Re: ACC &Ors  EWCOP 9, a case concerning the conflicts of interests that may arise where property and affairs deputies instruct a firm with which they are associated to carry out instructions for P, or to conduct litigation on P’s behalf.
"[...] the addition of Matthew Wyard to the team has given real fire power to their Court of Protection offering in Wales.'"
‘His in-depth knowledge of Welsh social care law is an advantage.’
Legal 500 2021/Court of Protection and Community Care/Rising Stars/Tier 1/Wales and Chester
"[...] 3PB's presence in this region comes in the form Matthew Wyard… He specialises in public law challenges in the education sector, civil claims against education institutions and special educational needs appeals."
‘One of very few barristers in the Country who has a true grasp of Welsh Education Law.’
Legal 500 2021/Education/Rising Stars/Tier 1/Wales and Chester
“Thank you again for the excellent outcome you obtained for us yesterday. This note is also very helpful. I have shared it with our wider team because I am sure that the outcome will assist with the handling of many of the other data protection claims across [the organisation] at the moment.
It was a stroke of luck for us that you were able to assist with this matter at short notice and your work is very much appreciated. ’’
Instructing Solicitor, Data protection matter
“I did also want to mention that…we have received some excellent feedback recently for 3PB and thought it would be good to share this with you. I have received excellent reports from [team members] and most importantly of all, my clients, regarding the high quality and standard of the work that we are receiving…specifically in relation to…Matthew…I have worked closely with Matthew on one of my cases recently and I am hugely impressed, as are the clients, over his handline and management of the case. The clients are absolutely delighted with his professionalism, conduct and communication. This is a case where it has gone part-heard and the clients do not seem to mind a bit as Matthew has been just excellent”
Partner/Head of Education - National Law Firm
''I instruct Matthew regularly and am never disappointed by the level of professionalism and knowledge he brings to each case he is instructed on. Matthew has a unique way of identifying the key issues of a case and preparing submissions in a clear and persuasive manner, in order to achieve the best result possible. I can trust that he will always provide honest and efficient advice and am happy to have good working relationship with him.''
As you can imagine, it is extremely stressful for families to be going through this so I just wanted to say a big thank you for supporting me through [the] tribunal. I would recommend you to anyone going through similar proceedings. We are delighted with the outcome and have not stopped smiling since!
Firstly, the client would like for me to pass on their gratitude to Matt for all of his assistance on this matter. They described him as “a really nice guy who fought formidably for them and have nothing but praise for the work he has undertaken’’.
Clients feedback to instructing solicitor
Matthew Wyard is qualified to accept instructions directly from members of the public and professional clients under the Direct Public Access scheme.More Information