Matthew Chapman

Call: 1994, KC: 2017
King’s Counsel (KC)

"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.

Matthew is a fee-paid Employment Judge of the Employment Tribunals (England and Wales).
Recent cases

  • Laura Clarke v Dr Kalecinski & Others [2022] EWHC 488 (QB) Clinical negligence action arising from breast augmentation surgery in Poland. Claimant a UK national domiciled in England. Consideration of contractual framework and the party/parties with whom the Claimant contracted. Application of English and Polish law to claims variously pursued against surgeon, clinic and the clinic’s Polish insurer. Insurance indemnity limit. Consideration of novel argument that the package holiday cases on standard of care (Wilson v Best and following) should be applied in the context of a clinical negligence action against Polish entities. Judgment for the Claimant following Trial (Foster J). Matthew Chapman QC appeared for the Claimant.

  • 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 2022

Travel Law - Leading Silks - Tier 1 - 'Matthew's knowledge of travel law, including complex jurisdictional and applicable law issues, is unparalleled.'

Disconcertingly bright; photographic memory; amazing attention to detail. Great to have on your side in a tough international claim.

Personal injury - Leading Silks - Tier 4 - 'Great at identifying and addressing the key issues in complex cases. You are immediately on the front foot if you have Matthew as part of your team. ’

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

Chambers & Partners 2022

Travel: International Personal Injury (Silks) Band 1

Matthew Chapman KC 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 accident and catastrophic injury claims. He represents both claimants and defendants in complex cases that often raise novel points of law. His clients include several tour operators, hoteliers, insurers and carriers.

A go-to KC in an international serious injury case - he is responsive, super intelligent and understands very complex issues relating to international law." "One of the brightest barristers. He is entirely unflappable and fights cases with tenacity. He also gives very candid and commercial advice." "He is absolutely razor-sharp, very agile and reliable. He is an absolute genius on jurisdictional matters."

Recent work: Acted for the claimant in an employers' liability claim concerning a clash of heads which took place during the course of an 'outward bound' team-building exercise in Mexico.

Who's Who Legal: UK Bar 2022

Matthew is recommended in Aviation & Travel - Silks.

Matthew Chapman KC is “looked upon with enormous favour thanks to his outstanding work on personal injury claims and package holiday disputes.”

Best Lawyers UK 2023

Matthew Chapman KC is recognised in The Best Lawyers United Kingdom 2023 for excellence in  Personal Injury and Travel Law.

  • Personal Injuries Bar Association

  • Professional Negligence Bar Association

  • TATLA – Midlands Circuit

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

Pegasus Scholar (Australia); LLM; LLB (Hons)

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