Matthew Chapman

Call: 1994, QC: 2017
Queen’s Counsel (QC)

"The pre-eminent travel law junior of his generation, unsurpassed in pure travel law, who expresses himself clearly, is very good with clients and can be trusted to get something right."
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Matthew is a specialist in cross-border personal injury claims, acting for both Claimants and Defendants. His clients include foreign insurers, tour operators, air and sea carriers and foreign Hoteliers in addition to members of the public. Matthew has four headline areas of practice: (1) Conflicts (jurisdiction and applicable law disputes in a variety of contexts from complex motor insurance to overseas clinical negligence to the assessment of damages by the application of foreign law); (2) package and other travel/holiday related claims against tour operators; (3) claims against air and sea carriers by reference to the international carriage conventions; (4) commercial recovery actions by tour operators against foreign suppliers (reliance on contractual indemnities). He has wide experience of Tribunals at all levels (including the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal) in addition to the conduct of Trials at first instance. He is adept at representing clients at Inquests and at Mediation and all other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution. His background is in defending complex personal injury claims – often acting for local and other public authorities – and he continues to accept instructions in this field. Matthew was formerly the Conciliator for the Conciliation scheme (a form of ADR) run by the Passenger Shipping Association. Matthew is a co-author of Saggerson on Travel Law and Litigation (7th ed, 2017) and of Munkman on Employers’ Liability (14th ed forthcoming 2019). He is sole author of The Snail and the Ginger Beer: the singular case of Donoghue v Stevenson (2009). Matthew lectures/writes widely within his specialist areas of practice.
Pegasus Scholar (Australia); LLM; LLB (Hons)
Recent cases

  • Four Seasons Holdings Inc v Brownlie [2018] 1 WLR 192 (SC)

  • KXL v Nicholas Murphy [2016] EWHC 2702 (QB) (Preliminary issue Trial as to Foreign Limitation Periods Act 1984)

  • Wigley-Foster v MIB [[2016] 1 WLR 4769 (QB) (a claim against the UK MIB in circumstances where foreign motor insurer failed to respond in time to a claim)

  • Marshall & Pickard v MIB [2015] Ll Rep IR 400 (QB) (personal injury claim against UK MIB in context of an uninsured driver. Significant French law issues at High Court Trial)

  • Campbell v Thomas Cook [2015] 1 WLR 2007 (CA) (disability discrimination in context of package holiday and air travel. Matthew Chapman, leading Thomas Collins, appeared for the Defendant tour operator)

  • Winrow v Hemphill [2014] EWHC 3164 (QB) (Preliminary issue Trial as to applicable law by reference to Rome II Regulatiion)

  • Hyde v SARA Assicurazioni [2014] EWHC 2881 (QB) (Recovery of interest and costs in context of insurance coverage cap. Matthew Chapman appeared for the Defendant insurer)

  • Wall v Mutuelle de Poitiers Assurances [2014] 3 All ER 340 (CA) (Instruction of expert witnesses in context of Rome II Regulation)

  • Bloy & Ireson v MIB [2014] Ll Rep IR 75 (CA) (a claim against the UK MIB in context of uninsured foreign driver. Questions as to law applicable to the assessment of damages)

  • Ford v Malaysian Airline Systems [2014] 1 Ll Rep 301 (CA) (a claim against air carrier and whether there had been an “accident” within the meaning of the Montreal Convention)

  • XVW v Gravesend Grammar School & Another [2012] ELR 417 (QB) (a claim against Adventure Travel company. Issues of vicarious liability in the context of a package holiday claim. Matthew Chapman appeared for the Defendant tour operator)

Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 Rankings
Legal 500 2018

Personal injury - new silks - Tier 1 - ‘He concentrates on catastrophic injury actions (domestic and cross-border) and has expertise in defending complex stress at work and other employers’ liability matters.’

Consumer - 2017 silks - Tier 1 - ‘Notably strong in travel and holiday cases.’

Travel Law - 2017 silks - Tier 1 - ‘He remains one of the intellectually incisive yet approachable barristers.’

Chambers & Partners 2019

Travel (New Silk) - Band 3 - Receives exceptional feedback from market commentators. He distinguishes himself through his tremendous knowledge of key travel law directives and private international law. His caseload encompasses a broad spectrum of high-profile fatal accidents and catastrophic injury claims. He represents both claimants and defendants in complex cases that often raise novel points of law under Rome II. His clients include several tour operators, insurers and carriers.  "A go-to barrister with a very impressive knowledge and understanding of complex jurisdictional and applicable law issues. He cuts through intricate issues and explains them to clients in a reassuring manner." "Supremely knowledgeable on travel law issues and a pleasure to work with."  Recent work: Instructed as junior counsel for the claimant in Brownlie v Four Seasons, a Supreme Court case concerning jurisdiction and applicable law in the context of a high-profile fatal accident in Egypt during an excursion booked with a local hotel.

Personal injury (New Silk) - Band 3 - Best known for his work in cross-border personal injury litigation. His leading reputation in this area is built upon his pronounced expertise in English catastrophic personal injury law. He is particularly experienced in RTA claims that involve the MIB. He also offers experience of occupiers' liability and employers' liability claims.  "He's extremely bright, very personable and has a very good manner with clients, instructing solicitors and opponents."  Recent work: Acted in a large and complex multiparty action arising out of an outbreak of gastric illness at a holiday resort on the South Coast of England.


  • Personal Injuries Bar Association

  • Professional Negligence Bar Association

  • TATLA – Midlands Circuit

  • Former Conciliator for the Passenger Shipping Association Conciliation Scheme (2005–2010)

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