Matthew Wyard is a specialist public law, regulatory law and human rights barrister. 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.
He joined 3PB in 2020, having spent his first few years of practice as an employed barrister in the public law department of a national law firm where he built a broad public law practice. Having regularly instructed 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 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.
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Matthew maintains a deliberately broad and varied public law and regulatory practice encompassing education, health, life sciences, community care, court of protection, adult & children’s services, professional discipline, data protection, freedom of information, privacy, inquests and human rights.
He is happy to accept instructions on all public law matters, including for urgent and out of hours applications, as well as international matters.
Matthew is a member of the Attorney General’s Junior Junior panel and the Welsh Government’s public law scheme. He is regularly instructed to prepare Summary Grounds of Resistance in judicial review proceedings on behalf of the Home Office and has been instructed as junior counsel by the Secretary of State for Justice in employment proceedings. Most recently Matthew was instructed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a member of the counsel team in relation to the litigation arising from the death of Harry Dunn.
Cannabis regulation/Life sciences
Matthew is one of the only barristers practising at the bar of England and Wales with a thriving practise in providing regulatory advice and assistance to the 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 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: KM – Providing advice on the application of the EU Tobacco Products Directive to UK sellers
- 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
- MM v Cardiff and Vale University Health Board – judicial review of a health board’s decision to refuse to provide adequate nursing care at the claimant’s home thereby preventing him from visiting his mother
- JW v Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council – challenge to the legality of the local authority’s decision not to fund rental costs under section 117 aftercare
Matthew is has written widely on the subject of cannabis regulation alone and in conjunction with other leading lawyers in the cannabis sector. He will shortly be working with Practical Law to prepare updated Practice Notes regarding the cannabis sector.
He is happy to advise on, amongst other things:
- The UN Single Drug Convention
- The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971
- The Misuse of Drug Regulations
- The domestic and European novel foods regime
- The domestic and European pharmaceutical market authorisation schemes
- The ‘CBPM’ scheme and regulations
Court of Protection / Community Care
Matthew is a Rising Star in Court of Protection and Community Care in the most recent edition of the Legal 500. He has expertise in all matters that appear before the Court of Protection across both jurisdictions of health & welfare and property & affairs.
Matthew will advise any party to property and affairs proceedings and enjoys working alongside private client solicitors to achieve appropriate and thorough end of life planning.
In the health and welfare jurisdiction, Matthew is regularly sought after to advise individuals and institutions on the competing statutory schemes for those transitioning between children and adults services.
Recent representative examples of Matthew’s work in the Court of Protection include:
- Re: DS – Advising on the appropriate method of structuring a high value property transaction within ongoing civil proceedings where the Defendant had lost capacity
- Re: SW – Advising and representing a family member contesting a property and affairs deputyship application
- 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
- 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 and inadvertently money laundering
- 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
- 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
According to Legal 500, Matthew’s encyclopedic knowledge of both English and Welsh social care law “is an advantage” to his clients.
In light of his public law expertise, he is regularly instructed in matters where young people are transitioning between children and adult services and has experience in disputes about assessments and care planning, charging issues, compliance, care leavers, carers’ allowance, special guardianship allowance.
At the other end of the spectrum, Matthew is developing a practice in respect of the elderly, in particular, focusing on the legitimate evasion of care home fees and the corresponding end of life planning.
Recent examples of Matthew’s community care practice 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
- Re: MA – Advising on the appropriate way to seek the reinstatement of direct payments
- AA v Newport City Council – a challenge to the legality of the local authority’s withdrawal and subsequent request for repayment of direct payments
- LT v Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council – a challenge to the local authority’s breach of section 37 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014
- CJ v Powys County Council – advice and pre action correspondence concerning the local authority’s failure to assist with an application for a Disabled Funding Grant
- TL v Newport City Council – a challenge against a failure to maintain support outlined in a Care and Support Plan
- TL v Ceredigion Council – judicial review challenge to the local authority’s failure to provide adequate care and support provision
Data protection, information, media and privacy
Matthew has both legal and practical experience working in the media and data protection fields, having been appointed as a board adviser, and later a non-executive director, of a music company since 2017. His complimentary public law practice means that he is well placed to advise on the use of public law remedies and challenges to advance commercial interests.
The vast majority of Matthew’s work in this field is highly confidential however, recent examples of such work include:
- Re: LL – Advising on prospects, evidence and drafting particulars of claim in a claim brought for breaches of the GDPR and misuse of private information
- Re: CG – Pro bono advice on whether a cyber attack 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
Examples of recent non-contentious work undertaken in the media sector includes:
- Paid contribution agreements
- Unpaid contribution agreements
- Music, film and sound recording licences
- Data protection policies
- Terms and Conditions of Business
- Payment plans and financial agreements
- A variety of intellectual property agreements
- Contracts of employment
- Consultancy agreements
Within the field of data privacy and information law, Matthew has experience advising on the information law obligations of public bodies including schools, colleges and local authorities and is happy to advise on:
- Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
- The General Data Protection Regulation
- Data Protection Act 2018
- Freedom of Information Act 2000
- Environmental Information Regulations 2004
- Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
- Misuse of information
- Breach of confidence
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In professional discipline cases, Matthew is well placed to advise upon and represent professionals, regulators and interested parties in statutory appeals and judicial review challenges regarding the decisions of regulatory bodies.
Whilst working in-house, Matthew was involved in a large number of fitness-to-practice issues concerning student doctors and nurses, as well as social workers. He has experience in advising on proceedings brought by the Teachers Regulation Agency.
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Within the education sector, Matthew has experience of judicial review and regulatory proceedings. Examples of Matthew’s recent education-related caseload include:
- Re: CSDN Ltd – Advising on prospects and evidence in relation to an appeal before the Care Standards Tribunal challenging a decision
- 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
- MA v B University – advising on the grounds for judicial review arising from a university’s failure to grant extenuating circumstances
- CP v Surrey County Council – Represented the claimant in an urgent out of hours injunction application and at a substantive application in the Administrative Court concerning the right of accommodation pursuant to section 20 of the Children Act 1989. He also drafted the Grounds of Judicial Review
- JPF v Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education – Drafted Grounds of Judicial Review regarding the legality of the higher education sector ombudsman’s decision to dismiss the Claimant’s complaint
- DB v Kings College London – challenge to a university’s termination of a medical student
- DB v London Borough of Richmond upon Thames – challenge pursuant to section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014 for failing to maintain an Education, Health and Care Plan
- MG v Hertfordshire County Council – challenge to the legality of the local authority refusing to finalise an Education, Health and Care Plan in accordance with an order of the First Tier Tribunal
- MG v CT Independent Review Panel – judicial review challenge to an IRP’s decision to uphold a permanent exclusion decision
- AM v Cardiff City Council – judicial review against the legality of a local authority’s statutory assessment process
- G v Newport City Council – challenge to a local authority’s failure to maintain a Statement of Special Educational Needs pending the outcome of a cease to maintain appeal to SENTW
Whilst in-house, he was part of the legal team working on a number of reported, high profile education cases including:
- DJ v Welsh Ministers & Ors  EWHC 2735 (Admin)
- Thilakawardhana v Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education  EWCA Civ 13
- Zahid v University of Manchester & Ors  EWHC 188 (Admin)
- DS v Wolverhampton City Council  EWHC 1660 (Admin)
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Matthew has good experience in advising on, and representing parties at, Inquests. Recent cases include:
- Inquest touching upon the death of MD – advising the mother of the deceased child in relation to scope, article 2 issues and disclosure regarding the apparent suicide following bullying at school
- Inquest touching upon the death of AR- advising and representing the mother of the deceased at a Pre Inquest Review Hearing considering issues of scope, article 2, witnesses and evidence.
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Matthew Wyard has practised in the field of education law for 8 years 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
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. An example 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.
Education judicial review challenges
Matthew has depth of experience in education public law challenges. These have included :
- 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) – a 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 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 documentation (see Matthew’s public & regulatory CV).
Importation and exportation of cannabinoid products post-Brexit5th Feb 2021
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.
A Local Authority v GP17th Nov 2020
3PB's specialist regulatory law barrister Matthew Wyard reviews the case of A Local Authority v GP (Capacity – care, support and education)  EWCOP 56.
The Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018: An update4th Nov 2020
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.
GCSE results 2020: Key Q&As for Students and Schools20th Aug 2020
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.
A-Level results: Key Q&As for Students and Schools13th Aug 2020
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.
A look at the draft Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Bill: Problems and pitfalls8th Jul 2020
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.
Novel foods regulation: Getting your product to the UK market8th Jun 2020
3PB’s Public and Regulatory Law barrister Matthew Wyard has reviewed the law regulating novel food products in the UK.
Regulatory Update - The Tobacco Products Directive4th Jun 2020
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.
UK Market Authorisation for New Medicinal Products4th Jun 2020
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.
Practical guidance on video hearings in the SENDIST12th May 2020
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.
From absolute statutory duty to reasonable endeavours: the consequences of modifying section 42 of the Children and Families Act 201412th May 2020
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: The Impact of the Coronavirus Bill20th Mar 2020
Education law barrister, Matthew Wyard examines the impact of the Coronavirus Bill on the independent education sector.
Issuing an EHC Plan - the meaning of ‘necessary’ (Nottinghamshire County Council v SF and another)12th Mar 2020
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.
RE: ACC & Ors  EWCOP 910th Mar 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
''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
- 2014: Called to the Bar (Lincoln’s Inn)
- 2012 – 2013: Postgraduate Diploma in Law, City Law School
- 2008 – 2012: LL.B (Hons)(SW) Law, University of Surrey
- Erasmus Scholarship
- Blackstone Chambers BPTC Mooting Competition, Semi finalist, 2013
Professional qualifications & appointments
- Chair of the Valuation Tribunal for England
- Member of the Welsh Government Public Law Scheme
- Member of the Attorney General’s Junior Junior Panel
- Bar Professional Training Course, City Law School, 2012 – 2013
- Lincoln's Inn, Member
- Western Circuit, Member
- Education Law Association
Matthew Wyard is qualified to accept instructions directly from members of the public and professional clients under the Direct Public Access scheme.More Information