Details of practice

Recommended by Chambers UK 2019 and The Legal 500 2019 in five practice areas.  Nominated as Criminal Junior of the Year at the 2017 Chambers Bar Awards.

Described by Chambers UK as “a fabulous 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 and inquests and inquiries by The Legal 500 and Chambers UK.

Featured in the Times as Lawyer of the Week in October 2016.


Recent instructions include allegations of war crimes, murder, kidnap, rape, fatal industrial accidents and serious fraud.  Matthew recently successfully defended Colonel Kumar Lama at the Old Bailey in a universal jurisdiction trial relating to alleged torture of Maoist prisoners during the Nepalese Civil War. He was the lead defence counsel at the trial.

Matthew is an expert in bringing and defending private prosecutions. He successfully defended a number of high profile political figures including then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and the London Mayor Sadiq Khan in private criminal cases. He has appeared in a number of cases in the High Court and the Court of Appeal concerning the right to bring private prosecutions.

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 is representing former undercover police officer Mark Kennedy in the Undercover Policing Inquiry currently chaired by Sir John Mitting.

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, and has appeared in most of the recent high profile police shooting cases. Matthew represented 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.

Matthew is instructed in civil and criminal appeals relating to the classification of firearms. He also regularly acts for Appellants and Respondents in cases concerning shotgun and firearms certificates.


Matthew is highly experienced in terrorist cases. He is representing the Metropolitan Police Service in both the inquests arising from the terrorist attacks on London Bridge and in the inquests arising from the terrorist attacks on Westminster Bridge and at the Palace of Westminster.


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.

Health and Safety

Matthew is a leading health and safety barrister, regularly appearing in cases relating to fatal and near fatal industrial accidents.

Extradition & Interpol Red Notices

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.  Matthew has expertise in challenging Interpol Red Notices on behalf of both UK based and international clients.

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

“A real star: very bright and well respected by the judiciary.” The Legal 500 2017: Crime

“An incredibly persuasive advocate with a razor-sharp mind. His approach to the case and advocacy skills are both exceptional.” Chambers UK 2018: Professional Discipline.

“Relentless in the pursuit of his clients’ best interests.” The Legal 500 2017 International Crime and extradition

“A fearless and tenacious advocate.” The Legal 500 2017: Inquests and Inquiries

“A strong-minded and fully committed barrister who is really making his mark. Chambers UK 2018: Crime

“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 2016: Professional Discipline

A ‘very intelligent and extremely skilled advocate’. The Legal 500 2016: Licensing

“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

“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)


Bencher of Gray’s Inn 2017

Recorder of the Crown Court 2015

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.