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

Chambers of David Berkley QC

Work Department

Public and Regulatory; Education; Family.


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.

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.

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.


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 [2020] 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 [2020] 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

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.

Civil claims

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.

Education judicial review challenges

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 [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.

For more information please see his public law expertise section of his CV.

Governance/regulatory issues

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.



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 > Court of Protection and community care

(Rising stars)Ranked: Tier 1

Matthew Wyard3PBA junior with good client care skills, and his advice is well-considered, comprehensive and clear.’

Regional Bar > Wales and Chester Circuit > Education

(Rising stars)Ranked: Tier 1

Matthew Wyard3PBA strong and detailed advocate who quickly identifies the relevant issues in a case. He has the ear of the Tribunal.’