Matthew Wyard > Chambers of David Berkley KC > Bristol, England > Lawyer Profile

Chambers of David Berkley KC

Work Department

Public and Regulatory; Education; Family.


Matthew Wyard is a specialist public law barrister. He has appeared in courts/tribunals of all levels up to and including the Court of Appeal and regularly appears against senior juniors and Queen’s Counsel.

He maintains a deliberately broad public law practice but has a particular interest and expertise in the areas of health, education and community care disputes, media and communications issues, and planning/environmental matters. For a full description of Matthew’s areas of expertise please see his specialist profiles below.

Matthew is appointed to the Attorney General’s C Panel of Counsel to the Crown and is ranked in both leading directories. He is ranked as a Rising Star in the latest edition of the Legal 500 for education, court of protection and community care and Up and Coming in the latest edition of Chambers for education. Until 2022 he was the only member of the bar to be recognised for his expertise in Welsh education law.

Alongside his thriving practice, Matthew sits as a Chairman in the Valuation Tribunal for England and is the Vice Chair of the Board of Thinkspace Education.

Matthew is a widely published legal author. He is a contributing author to the Education Law Handbook, the leading text for education law practitioners and a contributing editor to Clarke Hall and Morrison on Children. He regularly writes for Lexis PSL and Practical Law and has also been published in The Times Higher Education, the Education Law Monitor and the Solicitors Journal.

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.


Matthew is a member of the Attorney General’s C Panel of Counsel to the Crown. He regularly acts for Central and Local Government, public authorities and individuals. He accepts instructions for urgent and out of hours applications as well as international matters.

Cases of note that he has been instructed in/involved with include:

  • For the Appellant in AB v Newport City Council [2022] UKUT 190 (AAC) confirming that there is a right of appeal to the Upper Tribunal against review decisions of the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales.
  • For Home Office in the leading Country Guidance case on Somalia: OA v SSHD [2022] UKUT 00033 (IAC).
  • For the Respondent in Nottinghamshire County Council v SF & Ors [2020] EWCA Civ 226 considering the meaning of “necessary” under s37 Children and Families Act 2014.
  • To seek permission to appeal in D v Hampshire County Council [2020] EWHC 2916 (Admin).
  • DJ v The Welsh Ministers & Ors [2018] EWHC 2735 (Admin) : challenge to the Welsh Ministers Guidance on post-16 education.
  • Thilakawardhana v OIA [2018] EWCA Civ 13 : application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal and the substantive appeal.
  • Zahid v University of Manchester [2017] EWHC 188 (Admin) : leading authority on the relationship between the courts and the OIA.
  • DS v Wolverhampton City Council [2017] EWHC 1660 (Admin) Considering the application of s19 of Education Act 1996.
  • AC v OIA (unreported) : considering the legality of the OIA’s rules.

More information on Matthew’s specific areas of interest is detailed below.

Media and Communications/ Information Rights and Investigatory Powers

Matthew advises and represents clients in the entire cross section of work dealt with in the Media and Communications List of the High Court. He has a thriving data protection practise and also regularly deals with matters giving rise to claims in misuse of private information, breach of confidence, harassment, defamation, malicious falsehood and breaches of Article 8. He has represented Central Government departments, non departmental public bodies, higher education institutions, schools, companies and individuals.

Matthew approaches his media and communications work with an insight into the media world – outside of practise he is the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of a music school.

Alongside the more traditional aspects of his media and communications practise, Matthew also advises organisations on the regulatory obligations for obtaining and controlling information and personal data on persons of interest under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, Investigatory Powers Act 2016 and the Disclosure and Barring regime.

Recent examples of work undertaken include:

Advising a regulator on a variety of matters including:

  • the data sharing protocol between itself and a local authority
  • the data sharing protocol between itself and the police
  • the legality of requiring a transexual individual to obtain a new DBS certificate following their transition
  • the indefinite retention of safeguarding information
  • the balance to be struck between data protection rights and the duty to make reasonable adjustments.

B School: Advising a school on the merits of, and response to, a letter before claim alleging defamation.

Re: W: Advising the defendant on and settling the Defence to a claim brought under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

Drafting a comprehensive guide on data protection rights and privacy for internal use by a regulator in relation to the rights for third party contractors.

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.

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 include:

  • 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.


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 and as Up and Coming in Chambers and Partners. 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. He regularly appears in the First Tier Tribunal, Upper Tribunal and Education Tribunal for Wales.

Most recently, Matthew was instructed by the successful appellant in AB v Newport City Council [2022] UKUT 190 (AAC), by the successful respondents in Nottinghamshire County Council v SF & GD [2020] EWCA Civ 226 and to seek leave for appeal to the Court of Appeal following the decision in D v Hampshire County Council [2020] EWHC 2916 (Admin).

He is an expert on the new Additional Learning Needs system in Wales and provides training across the sector on the new Act.

Having worked in house he also has experience attending annual reviews, dispute resolution meetings and mediations.

Disability Discrimination

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.

Civil claims

Having spent his first few years working in-house in the litigation department 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 include:

A v D School: Successfully representing the school in an educational negligence claim against a leading silk.

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:

X v G College: representing the college against a leading education law silk in a judicial review against its decision to exclude a student.

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 [2018] EWHC 2735 (Admin): challenge to the Welsh Ministers Guidance on post-16 education.

Thilakawardhana v OIA [2018] EWCA Civ 13: application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal and the substantive appeal.

Zahid v University of Manchester [2017] EWHC 188 (Admin): leading authority on the relationship between the courts and the OIA.

DS v Wolverhampton City Council [2017] EWHC 1660 (Admin): considering the application of s19 of Education Act 1996.

AC v OIA (unreported): considering the legality of the OIA’s rules.

Governance/regulatory issues

Matthew has experience advising schools, higher education institutions and regulators on a wide range of governance and regulatory matters. Additionally, he has drafted and advised upon various policies, procedures and contractual documents. Recent examples of regulatory work include:

  • Advising an appellant childminder in an appeal to the Care Standards Tribunal against removal from the register
  • Advising a regulator on the likely enforceability of a historic covenant contained in an Abstract pre dating 1926
  • Advising on the legal risks associated with a public consultation
  • Advising a regulator on the applicability in the jurisdiction of an international certificate of good conduct
  • Drafting online guidance in relation to registration with a regulator
  • Advising an inspection authority on the limits of its powers and when it becomes functus
  • Advising on the legality of amending a regulators complaints process
  • Advising a regulator on the risks associated with the implementation of a new Bill
  • Advising a regulator on whether a novel business idea would require registration with it.


Alongside his thriving public law/judicial review practice, Matthew is developing a complimentary planning, environmental and public law related property practice.

Matthew sits as a Chair in the Valuation Tribunal for England, which gives him a working knowledge of English ratings and land valuation law, as well as the principles of taxation of land. He is also appointed to the Attorney Generals C Panel of Counsel to the Crown.

Matthew is happy to accept instructions in all areas of planning and environmental law as well as related issues of highways, rights of way, covenants and easements.

Notable experience:

  • Land adjacent to HMP Garth and Wymott – Matthew (led by Josef Cannon) represented the Rule 6 party objecting to the proposed development of a new prison in the Green Belt in this inquiry Recovered by the Secretary of State. The main issue within the inquiry concerned whether the need for a new category c resettlement prison in the North West of England constituted ‘Very Special Circumstances’ for the purposes of overcoming the presumption against Green Belt development.
  • Drafting an objection to a proposed Housing Regeneration Scheme in Westminster City Council on heritage, policy, transport, character and equality grounds.
  • Advising on a proposed challenge to a London Borough’s proposals to put in place a traffic management scheme that would adversely impact disabled residents.
  • Advising on a planning application concerning the development of a residential basement.
  • Advising on a potential challenge to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) against the operator of a telecommunications mast.
  • Advising upon and settling pre action correspondence in a claim against a London Borough Council under the environmental health legislation.

Regularly acting for and advising both public and private educational institutes on a variety of legal issues,  Matthew has a unique insight into these institutions and the pressures they face and is well placed to advise on land and planning disputes that arise.  Matthew is ranked in both the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners for education law and is one of the only barristers ranked specifically for Welsh education law. He is therefore familiar with devolution issues.

Matthew is familiar with the Environmental Information Regulations and the right to information under other statutory schemes, he frequently advises clients on data protection and information law.

Whilst working as an in-house Barrister, Matthew advised on a number of real estate/property matters, including:

  • Assisting represent a property owner successfully defend a proprietry estoppel claim from an intervener within financial remedy proceedings concerning the proposed sale of a smallholding.
  • Advising upon, undertaking relevant drafting and representing the landlord in possession proceedings resulting in the securing of a possession order, unpaid rent and costs.
  • Assisting defend a TOLATA application brought against a disabled co-owner of a former matrimonial home.
  • Successfully defending an application for the forfeiture of a commercial lease.
  • Advising the defendant on a proposed claim for breach of lease following their subletting of residential premises through AirBnB.

Alongside practise, Matthew is a prolific author and has published numerous articles, including on environmental law issues in the Journal of Animal Law.

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’ 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 is one of very few barristers with significant experience across both jurisdictions of the Court of Protection. He has a complimentary expertise in community care law, for which see his public and regulatory profile, and sits as a Chair in the Valuation Tribunal, demonstrating his technical property and tax expertise.

Health & Welfare

Matthew’s holistic understanding of health, education and social care law is regularly sought after in respect of health and welfare proceedings in the Court of Protection. He regularly represents the Official Solicitor, RPRs, family members, and local authorities. In light of his public law expertise, Matthew is regularly instructed by local authorities to advise on complex issues that arise where young people are transitioning between children and adult services.

Recent representative examples of Matthew’s health and welfare work includes:

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.

Property & Affairs

Matthew has a burgeoning property and affairs practice. Recent examples of Matthew’s work in this field:

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.


Year of call 2014


  • Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association
  • Court of Protection Practitioners Association
  • Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association
  • Society of Computers and Law
  • Lincoln’s Inn, Member
  • Western Circuit
  • Education Law Association


  • 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

Lawyer Rankings

Regional Bar > Wales and Chester Circuit > Education

(Leading Juniors)Ranked: Tier 1

Matthew Wyard  – 3PB ‘Matthew is very detailed and will go that extra step further in order to present the strongest case possible. He is very approachable and clients like him.’

Regional Bar > Wales and Chester Circuit > Court of Protection and community care

(Leading Juniors)Ranked: Tier 1

Matthew Wyard – 3PB ‘An excellent advocate.’

London Bar > Education

(Leading Juniors)Ranked: Tier 5

Matthew Wyard3PB ‘Matthew is meticulous with his preparation and has a great way with clients, putting them at ease so that they can give clear and cogent evidence. His advocacy is well beyond his year of call.