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 in recent years have included:

 

  • “He is an excellent advocate, his written work is thorough and considered, and he is always thinking strategically.”
  • “He is very bright and a future star of the construction Bar.”
  • “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 a former Chairman of Junior TECBAR. He is ranked in The Legal 500 as a leading junior in Construction and has been described as “a future star of the construction Bar”.  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.

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, and various claims by universities, local authorities and housing associations.

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 and co-editor of the Architects’ Legal Handbook.

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.


A USD $93 million ICC arbitration over defective works in a flagship middle east airport.


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 solar installation dispute.


Arbitration concerning a basement tanking/waterproofing dispute.


A dispute over alleged deficiencies in foundation design.


Various “payment dispute” adjudications.

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

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 cover under a Swiss master policy in respect of a US class action.


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


Advising insurers 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 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 property damage claim against engineering consultants for negligent specification and advice concerning a basement water storage tank.


Defending structural engineering consultants in a 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.

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. By way of example:

Negligence, nuisance and claims for pure economic loss:

  • 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.

Claims for subsidence-related damage (including by tree roots):

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

  • 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.

Banking & Finance:

  • Matthew is regularly instructed by financial institutions, including many of the leading UK banks and lenders.
  • He has experience in matters ranging from questions over the validity and scope of refund guarantees through to allegations of mis-selling, three-party hire purchase disputes, claims for breach of lenders’ terms and conditions and tortious claims for economic loss.

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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
  • Architect’s Legal Handbook, 10th Ed (editor)
  • 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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For help and advice talk to a member of our clerking team. They can advise on the best options for your matter.

Call: +44 (0) 20 7842 5555

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