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

  • Martin Scales v MIB [2020] EWHC 1747 (QB, Cavanagh J). Judgment applying Spanish law to quantum issues following a 4 day Trial conducted (by remote access) during the Covid-19 lockdown. The reserved judgment considers the application of the old (pre-January 2016) Baremo to quantum in respect of serious/life-changing injury (and the manner in which non-pecuniary and financial losses, including paid and gratuitous care, fall to be assessed). Award of Spanish law penalty interest to the Claimant. Additionally, there is a separate judgment on costs and Part 36 consequences following Trial in which the Claimant “beat” his own Part 36 offer: [2020] EWHC 1749.

  • Perez v KBC & others [2020] (QB) (Trial of preliminary issue of applicable law and (contractual and tortious/delictual) limitation. The proper construction of Rome I Regulation and of Article 15(h) of the Rome II Regulation. Interruption of limitation in Belgian law).

  • Pandya v Intersalonika [2020] EWHC 273 (QB, Tipples J) (Trial of preliminary issue of (tortious/delictual) limitation. The proper construction of Article 15(h) of the Rome II Regulation. Interruption of limitation in Greek law).

  • Cole & Martin v IVI & Zurich [2019] 9 WLUK 373 (QB, HHJ Rawlings) (Jurisdiction contest. Joinder of a tortfeasor Defendant in addition to EU insurer pursuant to Article 13(3) of the recast Brussels I Regulation. Referred to the CJEU).

  • Peacock v Del Seatek & Another [2019] (Adm. Court, Mr Registrar Kay QC) (Jurisdiction in tort pursuant to CPR Part 6, PD 6B, para 3.1((9)(a). Consideration of Brownlie v Four Seasons Holdings Inc [2018] 1 WLR 192 (SC)).

  • 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 2020

Personal injury - leading 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 leading silks - Tier 1 - ‘Notably strong in travel and holiday cases.’

Travel Law - 2020 leading silks - Tier 2 - ‘ Has an unbelievable knowledge of the different legislation covering international personal injury and is incredibly nimble on his feet. ’

Chambers & Partners 2020

Travel: International Personal Injury (Silks) Band 2
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. "He has great client skills, judges like him and he takes a very pragmatic and commercial approach to cases." "He is the go-to barrister for complex issues of jurisdiction and applicable law. He is extremely detailed and thorough in his analysis, and presents his advice in a clear way."

Recent work: Acted for the claimant in a personal injury claim which arose out of a parasailing accident in Vietnam. The claimant was working and being filmed as the presenter of a corporate promotional film at a luxury hotel at the time of the accident.

Personal Injury (Silks) 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.  "A determined advocate who is very good with clients."

Recent work: Acted for the claimant in Martin Scales v MIB, a case involving a cycling accident in Spain that resulted in catastrophic traumatic brain injury. The tortfeasor driver was uninsured.

  • 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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