Details of practice

Recommended by Chambers UK 2015 and The Legal 500 2015 in five practice areas.

Described by Chambers UK as “an excellent advocate who prepares his cases superbly, and has good public law knowledge” and by The Legal 500 as “a very intelligent and extremely skilled advocate.” Matthew is a leading barrister with experience of high profile cases across chambers’ practice areas.

He is recommended as a leading barrister in crime, licensing, extradition, professional discipline, inquests and inquiries by The Legal 500 and Chambers UK.


Recent instructions include allegations of war crimes, murder, kidnap, rape and serious fraud. Matthew has been appointed to the CPS “rape panel” and the Attorney General’s B Panel for Health and Safety prosecutions.

Matthew is an expert in bringing and defending private prosecutions. He successfully represented various Members of Parliament including then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith MP when private criminal cases were brought in relation to alleged members’ expenses fraud. He has appeared in a number of cases in the High Court and Court of Appeal concerning the right to bring private prosecutions.

Fatal Shootings and Firearms:

Noted in The Legal 500 2015 as ‘A specialist on the finer points of firearms law.’ Matthew has expertise in the command and control of the most dangerous police firearms operations, representing the Trident Tactical Firearms Commander in the Mark Duggan Inquest and the Flying Squad “Silver Commander” and Senior Investigating Officer in a double fatal shooting at Chandlers Ford. He is instructed in civil and criminal appeals relating to the classification of firearms. Matthew also regularly acts for Appellants and Respondents in cases concerning shotgun and firearms certificates.

Inquests and Inquiries:

Matthew is ranked as a leading barrister in inquests and inquiries by The Legal 500 and Chambers UK. He is frequently instructed on behalf of families and other properly interested parties in coroner’s inquests and public inquiries. Matthew has recently been instructed by a former undercover police officer in relation to the Undercover Policing Inquiry chaired by Lord Justice Pitchford.


Acting for licensees, applicants, residents’ groups, local councils and police forces, Matthew is one of the country’s leading licensing barristers. He regularly appears in the Magistrates’ Court on statutory appeals and in the High Court and Court of Appeal on judicial review and appeals by way of case stated. Matthew is also experienced in betting, gaming, taxi licensing, sexual entertainment licensing and the regulation of the private security industry. Recent clients include Secret Cinema, the WOMAD festival, Standon Calling Festival, Punch Taverns, the Security Industry Authority and the Metropolitan Police Service.


Matthew advises and appears for issuing judicial authorities, requesting governments and requested persons in extradition cases. He appears in the Magistrates’ Court and the High Court on appeal. He also advises and represents in mutual legal assistance cases.

Professional Discipline:

Regularly instructed to represent police officers accused of gross misconduct before discipline boards, the PAT and the High Court on judicial review.

Search and Seizure:

Matthew has particular expertise in litigation concerning applications for and challenges to search warrants and production orders. He has successfully challenged many such warrants securing orders for the return of material and damages. Matthew has recently appeared in high profile cases involving applications for production orders, including an application following serious disorder at the Syrian Embassy and investigations into corruption in Premier League football clubs.

Financial Crime and Proceeds of Crime:

Matthew regularly represents solicitors and accountants accused of money laundering and fraud offences and is experienced in long running and complex fraud and proceeds of crime proceedings in the Crown Court and in the Court of Appeal.

Directory recommendations

“He has excellent attention to detail, and exemplary communication and client care skills.” The Legal 500 2015: Inquests and Inquiries

“He is excellent. He has an extremely good brain, is extremely articulate and has a complete understanding of the points to take and the points to leave alone.” “A clever guy who does things properly. He is one to look out for.” Chambers UK 2014: Inquests

Completing the set’s weighty extradition offering is the “very thorough” Matthew Butt, his “attention to detail” and client skills come in for considerable praise, as does his presentation in court. Serious crime, fraud and regulatory work sit alongside extradition in his practice. Chambers UK 2014: Crime and Extradition

“Has extensive experience and is strong on police disciplinary cases. He is especially noted for handling cases where the police have deployed arms in the course of their operations.” “He is very thorough and committed. He prepares his cases superbly, and has good public law knowledge.” The Legal 500 2014: Professional Discipline

“a very ebullient advocate who won’t be put down,” and regularly undertakes licensing work related to sectors such as the security industry, taxis and private hire, casinos and gaming, entertainment and dancing and the liquor trade. One instructing solicitor stated that “he is really impressive on his feet – the client was exceptionally impressed when we used him.” Chambers UK 2014: Licensing

A ‘very intelligent and extremely skilled advocate’. The Legal 500 2014: Licensing

“He’s an intelligent, imposing character. He must be about seven feet tall, a good proportion of which seems to be brain.” Chambers UK: Licensing 

Education/professional qualifications

LLB University College London
Diploma in law
Atkin Scholar 2002 (Gray’s Inn)
English Speaking Union American Scholar 2001
Lord Justice Holker Scholar 2000 (Gray’s Inn)


Lead Advocacy Trainer, Gray’s Inn
Pupil Supervisor
CPS Grade 3 Prosecutor
CPS rape list
Attorney General’s B Panel (2012)
Attorney General’s C Panel (2008 – 2012)

Other information

Matthew has worked in Jamaica, as a member of the Bar Human Rights Committee, on a scheme to assist those being tried for offences that would attract the death penalty.

Direct access

Matthew Butt is qualified to accept instructions direct from clients under the Bar Council’s Public Access Scheme. This means that members of the public who seek specialist advice can come direct to him. In addition, he welcomes instructions from solicitors, in-house law departments, qualified foreign lawyers, and clients licensed by the Bar Council to give instructions direct to barristers under the Bar Council’s Licensed Access Scheme.

For further information please contact our Clerks.