Matthew Chapman KC

Matthew Chapman KC

Call: 1994 Silk: 2017

"He is the godfather of travel and number one when it comes to anything technical or jurisdiction related."

Chambers & Partners 2024

Matthew Chapman KC is a specialist in cross-border personal injury claims, acting for both Claimants and Defendants.

His clients include foreign insurers, tour operators, travel agents, air and sea carriers, in addition to members of the public. His practice includes conflicts matters (jurisdiction and applicable law disputes in a variety of contexts), package travel claims, claims under the international carriage conventions and contractual recovery actions by tour operators.

Matthew has experience before tribunals at all levels (including the Supreme Court and Court of the Justice of the European Union). He has wide experience of Inquests and is also adept at representing clients at Mediation, Settlement Meetings and all other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution. Matthew was formerly Conciliator for the conciliation scheme run by the Passenger Shipping Association, a form of ADR (2005 to 2010).

Matthew’s background is in complex personal injury, acting for local and other public authorities across the full range of claims and he continues to accept instructions in this area.

In addition to lecturing widely within his specialist areas of practice, Matthew is a co-author of both Munkman on Employers’ Liability and Saggerson on Travel Law and Litigation, and sole author of The Snail and the Ginger Beer: the singular case of Donoghue v Stevenson.

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


Matthew is widely recognised as a leading practitioner in the field of travel and cross border claims in which he acts for both Claimants and Defendants and for a wide range of clients. Formerly ranked by Chambers & Partners as a “star” junior, he continues to act in a wide range of high profile matters in silk, appearing before tribunals at all levels, including the Supreme Court and Court of Justice of the European Union.

Matthew has a background in the defence of complex personal injury claims for local and other public authorities. More recently, he has developed particular interests in leisure accidents and Animals Act matters and is acting in a number of high profile matters within these fields.

Recent News

Regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB)

Regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and holds a current practising certificate. To see my privacy notice click here.

  • LLB (Hons) (Univ of Bristol)
  • LLM (distinction) (King’s College, Univ of London)

  • King’s Counsel (2017)
  • Fee-Paid Employment Judge (2021 – 2023)
  • Recorder (Crime, South-eastern Circuit) (2023 onwards)
  • Member (Bar Council nominee) of King’s Counsel Selection Panel (2023 onwards)

  • Gray’s Inn Entrance Award
  • Pegasus Scholar (Australia)

  • Yesss (A) Electrical Ltd v Warren [2024] EWCA Civ 14. Significant Court of Appeal decision on the proper approach to CPR relief from sanction in circumstances where there is a late application for expert evidence and where the relevant Rule, Practice Direction and Court Order(s) do not contain any express sanction for default. Discussion of conflicting first instance authority and general guidance as to the correct approach. Matthew Chapman KC and Bernard Pressman (both of Deka Chambers) appeared for the successful Claimant/Respondent.
  • Linda Lane v Amaya-Romero [2024] EWHC (KB). Preliminary issue Trial of limitation issues arising out of applicable law pursuant to Articles 4.2 and 4.3 of the Rome II Regulation. Whether England was “manifestly more closely connected” to the tort/delict in question. Matthew Chapman KC appeared for the successful Claimant.
  • Nicholls & Woodward v Mapfre [2023] EWHC 1031 (KB, Martin Spencer J). Conjoined appeals arising out of awards of Spanish penalty interest at first instance. Judgment on appeal contains detailed consideration of Articles 1.3 and 15 of the Rome II Regulation, the underlying Spanish law and the distinction between matters of procedure and of substance. Matthew Chapman KC acted for the Woodward Claimant/Respondent (at first instance and on appeal).  
  • Susan Sedgwick v Mapfre [2022] EWHC 2704 (QB); [2022] 10 WLUK 347 (QB, Lambert J). Quantum Trial in High Court, London. Complex issues of Spanish law quantum assessment concerning, among other matters (i) subrogated losses and Article 19 of the Rome II Regulation; (ii) Spanish law penalty interest rates and the exercise of discretion pursuant to section 35A of the Senior Courts Act.
  • Lydia Deane v Barker & Others [2022] EWHC 1523 (QB); [2022] 6 WLUK 187 (QB, Richard Hermer KC). Preliminary issue Trial as to liability in High Court, London. Among other things, the Court considered principles of statutory interpretation pursuant to Spanish law and the proper approach to expert evidence in the fields of foreign (Spanish) law and architecture.
  • 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) – Leading case on jurisdiction pursuant to the CPR, common law rules.
  • 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 Regulation.
  • 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). Leading case on applicable law pursuant to Rome II.
  • 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.

"Matthew is a delight to work with. He has a depth of knowledge that is unrivalled, and has his finger on the pulse of all cross-border litigation issues."

Legal 500 2024

"Matthew is technically astute and a real expert for both claimants and defendants."

Legal500 2023

"Matthew provides practical and commercially aware advice. He possesses a huge depth of knowledge."

Chambers & Partners 2023

"Matthew is extremely intelligent."

Chambers & Partners 2023

"A fantastic knowledge of travel law, an exceptional advocate with the soft skills necessary to build a rapport with catastrophically injured clients."

Legal 500 2023

"Formerly, “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.” Now a leading silk in his specialist area of practice."

"Matthew's knowledge of travel law, including complex jurisdictional and applicable law issues, is unparalleled. "

Travel Law - Leading Silks - Tier 1 Legal 500 2022

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

Travel Law - Leading Silks - Tier 1 Legal 500 2022

"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. "

Personal injury - Leading Silks - Tier 4 Legal 500 2022

"Notably strong in travel and holiday cases."

Consumer - 2017 leading silks - Tier 1 Legal 500 2022

"One of the brightest barristers. He is entirely unflappable and fights cases with tenacity. He also gives very candid and commercial advice."

Travel: International Personal Injury (Silks) Band 1 Chambers & Partners 2022

"A go-to QC in an international serious injury case - he is responsive, super intelligent and understands very complex issues relating to international law."

Travel: International Personal Injury (Silks) Band 1 Chambers & Partners 2022

"He is absolutely razor-sharp, very agile and reliable. He is an absolute genius on jurisdictional matters"

Travel: International Personal Injury (Silks) Band 1 Chambers & Partners 2022

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

Who's Who Legal: UK Bar Aviation & Travel - Silks

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