Matthew Smith

Call: 2001

Matthew’s practice embraces all aspects of commercial chancery litigation: from company and insolvency questions to contractual and property-related disputes. He has particular expertise in insolvency and in charity matters. He has been recommended for many years in the Chambers UK Bar Guide for Charities as a 'Star Individual'.

Matthew’s experience in insolvency disputes includes acting for the customers of Farepak following the collapse of the company’s Christmas savings scheme and advising creditors of the Icelandic banks which collapsed in 2008. He has been involved in insolvency proceedings relating to a number of football clubs, including Rangers FC. His reported cases include Re The Arena Corporation Ltd (fraud and winding up) and HMCE v Jack Baars Wholesale (insolvent partnerships and individual bankruptcy). He has particular experience of acting for landlords and tenants seeking possession and vesting orders within insolvency proceedings. He represented the Attorney General in the insolvency of a substantial charity in the Midlands. He is a member of the Insolvency Law Association and the Association of Business Recovery Professionals (R3).

Matthew has substantial experience in charity matters. He acted for the Independent Schools Council in its successful challenge to the Commission’s public benefit guidance. He appeared for two employee benevolent associations in the Attorney General’s reference on the “poor relations” cases. He was instructed by charity trustees appealing the Commission’s refusal to register the trusts connected with the Exclusive Brethren. Matthew has advised and appeared for the Commission in the Tribunal. He has advised the new Charity Commission of Northern Ireland. He regularly advises the Attorney on charity issues. He represented HMRC in the leading case of Harris v HMRC [2010] UKFTT 385 (TC) concerning the interaction between inheritance tax relief on gifts to charity and gift aid (“double-dipping”). He appeared in the Court of Appeal in Helena Partnerships Limited v HMRC (whether provision of housing for the benefit of the community a fourth-head purpose). He also represented the Catholic adoption agency engaged in a long-running appeal concerning the extent of the charity exemption in the Equality Act 2010. In 2006, he completed his LLM thesis on the rule against politics in charity law, which drew heavily on his knowledge of charity law in other common law jurisdictions. Matthew is a regular speaker at charity law seminars, edits the “Charities” volume of Atkins Court Forms and is a member of the steering committee of the Charity Law and Policy Unit at the University of Liverpool. Matthew writes a popular bi-monthly blog on charity law issues for Practical Law.

Matthew’s general commercial work has included litigation relating to the autobiography of Chris Eubank, a human rights action against British Airways and insurance fraud claims. He acted for the liquidator claimants in the case of Fresh’N’Clean Limited v Miah (carousel fraud; dishonest assistance) and has conducted several lengthy trials involving allegations of dishonesty. He is regularly instructed by the Financial Conduct Authority and is developing particular expertise on the regulation of collective investment schemes.

Matthew has advised charities and firms offering financial services together with their regulators in the Cayman Islands, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.