Instruct Matthew

To instruct Matthew please contact our clerks on +44 (0)20 7842 5555 or email clerks@4pumpcourt.com.

Matthew Thorne is instructed as counsel in matters in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, and in arbitrations and adjudications.

He frequently acts as sole counsel, and also as junior counsel in large and complex litigation. He has a broad commercial practice, spanning the breadth of chambers’ core areas and with particular experience in the following fields:

  • Construction
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Insurance & Reinsurance
  • Professional Negligence
  • Technology & Telecoms

Matthew is recommended in the Legal 500 as a ‘leading junior’.

Comments include:

  •  “A pleasure to work with: charming, bright and always prepared to go the extra mile to produce high-quality work.”
  •  “A very impressive grasp of technically complex cases.”
  •  “He is super bright and very user-friendly.”

Matthew is currently the Chairman of Junior TECBAR, and is ranked in The Legal 500 as a leading junior in Construction.  He regularly appears in the TCC, both as sole and junior counsel, as well as on significant points of law in the Court of Appeal. Matthew is also often instructed on complex arbitrations with an international element.

Matthew’s practice spans the construction sector (including both contractual and tortious disputes and covering advice and drafting, arbitration, litigation and adjudication). Examples include:

  • Construction and interpretation of design/build contracts and related agreements
  • Breach and termination
  • Adjudication and enforcement (including issues as to jurisdiction and set-off)
  • Negligence of construction industry professionals

He is instructed in respect of single and multi-party disputes, including between employers, main contractors, sub-contractors and contract administrators, and in respect both of standard forms and ad hoc arrangements.

In the aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy, Matthew has also been instructed in a number of multi-million pound cladding and fire-protection claims, including TCC litigation by a major hotel chain concerning the requirements of, and compliance with, Building Regulations in relation to ACM cladding.

He has also been involved as part of a legal team in complex, high-value construction disputes including a £37million dispute involving the construction of a petrochemical plant; and as part of a team in a ‘private finance initiative’ dispute (Portsmouth City Council v Ensign [2015] B.L.R. 675).

Matthew is also a TECBAR-accredited Adjudicator and is regularly appointed to determine a variety of disputes. He is also a contributing author on the online Lexis legal database in respect of construction and adjudication.

Featured Construction & Engineering cases


S&T(UK) Limited v Grove Developments Limited [2018] EWCA Civ 2448, the leading case concerning ‘valuation’ adjudications for interim payments and the requirements for Payment/Pay Less and Liquidated Damages notices.


North Midland Building Ltd v Cyden Homes Ltd [2018] EWCA Civ 1744, considering concurrent delay and the prevention principle.


Instructions in a JCT CIMAR arbitration concerning the conversion of a large residential dwelling.


A £22m claim in respect of allegedly defective chillers in a computer data centre.


A PFI dispute concerning PFP and structural defects in a large hospital.


An ICC arbitration valued at over $100m concerning defects in a steel plant.


A £34m claim for widespread defects (including cladding, fire-stopping, insulation and render) in student and social accommodation.


High Court proceedings concerning a £2.5million solar installation dispute.


A £500,000 TCC defects dispute regarding a central London commercial development.


Arbitration concerning a £250,000 basement tanking/waterproofing dispute.


TCC proceedings concerning a £2m interior fit-out dispute.


TCC proceedings concerning a £300,000 claim for defects to a residential property under the sale contract and Defective Premises Act 1972.


A defective foundation design dispute.


Various “payment dispute” adjudications.

Matthew is regularly instructed as sole and junior counsel in a wide range of commercial matters. Examples include:

  • Construction and interpretation of contractual provisions;
  • Claims of mistake, rectification, estoppel and misrepresentation;
  • Agency and authority;
  • Questions of title to sue in contract, negligence and bailment;
  • Issues of Causation and Remoteness of Damage; and
  • Termination of obligations including post-contractual restraints.

He has experience in complex and high-value matters ranging from liability under Refund Guarantees, Custodial Services Agreements, and the interpretation and termination of Oil Supply Contracts through to the enforceability of pre-litigation ADR clauses and the rights of estate agents in Agency Agreements.

He has been instructed as junior counsel in, amongst others, a £22m claim in respect of allegedly defective chillers in a computer data centre; proceedings against Renault for the sale of defective trucks in breach of the Sale of Goods Act 1979; a dispute over the ownership of a large shareholding in a substantial UK company (Frenkel v Lyampert [2017] EWHC 2223); a Commercial Court dispute concerning the maintenance of a large fleet of vehicles; as part of teams in a High Court dispute under a ‘private finance initiative’ contract between a local authority and a maintenance contractor ([2015] B.L.R. 675), and a Commercial Court dispute relating to the sale of a mobile telephone manufacturing business.

Featured Commercial cases


Frenkel v Lyampert [2017] EWHC 3121 (Ch): Successfully discharging a freezing injunction over a multimillion pound shareholding obtained through material non-disclosure.


Resisting proceedings against a casino for losses sustained whilst under the influence of alcohol.


Proceedings concerning the interpretation of a specialist software package which provided regulation-compliant data sheets, and the validity of termination thereunder.


Proceedings against an NHS trust for sums due under an educational and ancillary services contract.


Advising a private college on the validity of a contractual notice to terminate a supply contract, and related proceedings.


High Court proceedings relating to a dispute under an international television series distribution arrangement.


Acting on behalf of a PR Consultancy in proceedings against a well-known children’s author relating to the national publication of various newspaper articles and alleged breach of the consultancy agreement.


Acting on behalf of a casino in proceedings relating to compliance with gambling and licensing legal requirements.

Matthew has spent time working at a major global insurer/reinsurer and is regularly instructed as sole and junior counsel in substantial insurance disputes. He acts for insurers and reinsurers, including many of the leading UK insurers, as well as brokers and insured parties. Examples of his insurance/reinsurance work include:

  • Advice as to the scope of policy cover
  • Interpretation and construction of contractual provisions
  • Limitation and exclusion clauses
  • Misrepresentation, fraud and avoidance
  • Disputes as between Brokers, Insurers and their Insured
  • Subrogation rights and duties
  • Jurisdiction of, and disputes decided by, the Financial Ombudsman Service

Matthew has experience in policies ranging from professional indemnity and excess liability through to property damage, business interruption, contractors’ all risks, public liability, kidnap & ransom and cyber media & tech cover. He has been involved in large and complex disputes, including as part of a team in a reinsurance arbitration concerning a Managed Aggregate Excess Liability policy (based on Bermuda Form language), and as part of a team in a fire damage claim concerning coverage and conditions precedent (Milton Furniture Ltd v Brit Insurance Ltd [2014] Lloyd’s Rep. I.R. 540).

Featured Insurance & Reinsurance cases


Advising on the application of a deductible of $1.5million.


Acting on behalf of insurers in High Court (QB) proceedings related to a £630,000 dispute under an income protection policy, involving questions of policy coverage and detailed forensic accounting evidence.


Advising an insurer on the scope of an Employers’ Liability section and its compliance with the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Regulations 1998.


Advice on the extent of liability following a blanket / bulk notification of circumstances in a solicitors’ PI claim.


Acting for an insurer in proceedings concerning business interruption losses flowing from a power outage, and a related coverage dispute.


Advising on the scope of a Coverholder agreement.


Advice on the interpretation of a Long Term Care Plan policy, and a claim for misrepresentation as to the effect and appropriateness of such policy.


Defending against a water damage claim on a property policy on the basis of fraudulent devices.


Advising on a potentially fraudulent claim made under a Commercial Vehicle Insurance policy.


Advising insurers on coverage provided by a travel policy and potential liabilities arising from a $125,000 US claim against the insured.


Acting in a number of mediations in respect of coverage disputes.


Advising insurers on the scope and effect of joint names insurance, and the permissibility of a £650,000 claim falling outside its scope.

Matthew is ranked by Legal 500 as a leading junior in Professional Negligence. He is regularly instructed in a wide range of professional negligence disputes, with particular emphasis on the legal, construction and insurance sectors. Previous cases have involved:

  • Solicitors
  • Insurance brokers
  • Accountants
  • Financial and tax advisors
  • Valuers
  • Surveyors
  • Engineers
  • Architects
  • Plumbers

He acts for both claimants and defendants, and is also regularly instructed by the relevant professional’s indemnity insurer.

Matthew was recently instructed as junior counsel in successful Court of Appeal proceedings against the Law Society (Schubert Murphy v Law Society [2017] EWCA Civ 1295).

He has also been instructed as junior counsel in, amongst others, proceedings against solicitors alleging dishonest participation in a large-scale fraudulent scheme in conveyancing transactions; a claim against a tax consultancy firm in respect of claims arising from the provision of a tax mitigation scheme subsequently rendered ineffective by the enactment of retrospective legislation; and a multimillion pound claim against professional architects, timber frame designers, M&E engineers and consulting engineers in respect of defects in blocks of social housing.

Featured Professional Negligence cases


Acting on behalf of professional indemnity insurers in High Court (Chancery) proceedings in a claim brought by a bank against their insured solicitors for failure to register a charge and breach of a solicitors’ undertaking.


Acting on behalf of solicitors in a claim for negligent advice on the interpretation and consequences of a Sale and Purchase Agreement.


High Court (Chancery) proceedings against solicitors for negligent drafting and advice relating to a consultancy agreement.


Acting on behalf of conveyancing solicitors in a claim for failure to advise on the effect of the transaction documents.


Advising on a £150,000 claim against solicitors for negligent advice in the commencement and pursuit of an adjudication.


Defending a firm of insurance brokers against allegations of mis-selling, inadequate policy cover and negligent advice.


Proceedings against accountants for negligent advice and preparation of accounts.


Acting for the claimant in a £175,000 property damage claim against engineering consultants for negligent specification and advice concerning a basement water storage tank.


Defending structural engineering consultants in a £100,000 TCC dispute.


Representing a property management company in its claim against a negligent plumber.


Acting for a surveyor in a claim alleging negligent advice given as an expert witness in the course of a claim against the local authority.


Regularly instructed by surveyors for negligence claims brought in respect of valuation and property survey reports.

Matthew is regularly instructed in respect of a variety of IT and telecoms disputes, including complex and high value project disputes, claims for defective work and delay, and claims arising from the sale and separation of systems.

He has acted for web companies, IT professionals and their insurers and has particular experience in claims for the inadequate, incomplete and late design and development of websites and IT packages. Matthew has also been instructed as part of a team in larger disputes, including in a Commercial Court dispute valued at over £100,000,000 concerning the sale of a luxury mobile telephone business, giving rise to complex IT issues including logical separation of systems, transfer of hardware, software and data to particular standards, and network and business functionality.

Matthew is a member of the Society for Computers & Law.

Featured Technology & Telecoms cases


Acting on behalf of web developers in various proceedings for delay and defects in the design and provision of commercial websites.


Proceedings concerning interpretation of a contract for the provision of a specialist software package which provided regulation-compliant data sheets, and the validity of termination thereunder.


Acting in proceedings concerning alleged breach of a hosting agreement.

Matthew is also regularly instructed in a variety of other commercial and common law matters.

Matthew is regularly instructed in respect of subsidence and related claims, on behalf of claimants and defendants.

Featured Other Commercial & Common Law cases


Acting as junior counsel on behalf of a firm of solicitors in a claim for economic loss arising out of negligent misstatement by the Law Society ([2015] P.N.L.R. 15) and in the Court of Appeal ([2017] EWCA Civ 1295).


Advising on various claims against distribution network operators and electricity suppliers for fire damage resulting from electricity meters, cut-out assemblies and other third party equipment.


Various smoke, fire damage, escape of water and flooding claims against adjoining property owners.


Various product liability, negligence and breach of contract claims relating to defective boilers, washing machines, dishwashers and other appliances.


Advising on the merits of a claim for property damage caused by iron particles from a foundry chimney.


Junior counsel in TCC proceedings against Westminster City Council in respect of a £7m claim for damage to a residential Bayswater property ([2015] EWHC 2710 (TCC)).


Sole counsel in TCC proceedings by a freehold landlord against a neighbouring public authority in a £200,000 claim for damage.


Sole counsel defending claims for residential property damage brought against the London Boroughs of Haringey and Croydon.


Advice on the merits of a claim against various local authorities.

Rachel Ansell QC appointed as Chair of the Technology & Construction Bar Association

Following the 2019 TECBAR AGM on 18th July, we are pleased to announce that Rachel Ansell QC has been appointed as Chair...

Becoming a Barrister by Matthew Thorne

Matthew Thorne, a barrister at 4 Pump Court, has written a practical and accessible guide to pupillage applications for...

Construction Newsletter – Issue 32

The latest edition of our Construction Newsletter features yesterday’s decision of the Court of Appeal in North...

Construction Newsletter: The End of ‘Smash and Grab’ Adjudications?

Grove Developments Limited v S&T (UK) Limited [2018] EWHC 123 (TCC) In a significant decision, Mr Justice Coulson...

Instruct Matthew

To instruct Matthew please contact our clerks on +44 (0)20 7842 5521 or email clerks@4pumpcourt.com.

  • TECBAR accredited adjudicator
  • Un-Belize-able: the diminishing role of commerciality (2016) 27 Cons. Law 6, with Rachel Ansell QC. An article considering recent Supreme Court developments in contractual interpretation and implied terms.
  • Being Certain it’s Certain Enough (2013) 24 3 Cons. Law 14, with James Leabeater: An article considering the enforceability of contractual ADR clauses
  • A more than fleeting victory: general damages for fleet operators Insurance Day, 06 Nov 2013, with Richard Osborne: An article on the quantum of recoverable damages
  • Contributing author of LexisNexis online Adjudication KnowHow
  • Society for Computers & Law
  • Technology and Construction Bar Association (TECBAR)
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association (PNBA)
  • Commercial Bar Association (ComBar)
  • Inner Temple
  • MA Law, First Class (Jesus College, Cambridge)
  • Diploma in French Legal Studies, First Class (Université de Poitiers, France)
  • French (conversational)

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Call: +44 (0) 20 7842 5555

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