Barrister Awards 2012
Health & Safety Barrister of the Year
Richard Matthews QC
Richard Matthews QC practises from 2 Bedford Row, London, the leading criminal and regulatory chambers. He was called to the bar in 1989 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2010. His expertise spans the breadth of criminal and regulatory law, particularly health and safety cases, gross negligence/corporate manslaughter and environmental enforcement, and he is properly regarded as a true leader in these fields.
ichard has considerable experience of public inquiries and inquests (having advised and represented public bodies and corporations in relation to a number of
high profile inquests and public inquiries, and is currently advising the London Borough of Southwark in relation to the six fatalities resulting from the Lakanal fire in July 2009). Richard has experience in planning related matters and was recently instructed by Nabarros on behalf of Petroplus in a compulsory wayleave hearing.
Identified as an “undoubtable star and a prodigious talent, possessing a peerless knowledge of the law and procedure, he is an effortlessly fluent advocate with a disarming manner who is loved by juries and judges alike‘ in the independent law guide, the Legal 500, and recommended as a "leader in the field" in "crime", and "health and safety" by the independent directory of lawyers Chambers & Partners. Following his first year in silk, Richard is ranked in the top tier of Queen’s Counsel for health and safety in Chambers & Partners and was declared Health and Safety Silk of the Year for 2011
Richard has been instructed, both for the prosecution and the defence, in a great number of health and safety cases. He has particular experience in cases involving the gas and oil industries, nuclear industry, asbestos exposure, traffic management, NHS Trust and uniformed services, construction industry fatalities and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations.
Richard appeared in the leading House of Lords decision on health and safety, R v Chargot  UKHL 73, in many of the leading Court of Appeal authorities concerned both with liability of employers and company directors (R. v. HTM  2 All ER 665; R. v. P  ICR 96) and with sentence (R. v. Colthrop Board Mills  2Cr.App.R.(S.) 79; R v. Transco Plc  2 Cr.App.R.(S.) 740).
In July 2011, Richard was instructed in two joined appeals in the Court of Appeal that followed the Supreme Court decision in Baker v Quantum Clothing Group Limited & Others  UKSC 17  1 WLR 1003. The resulting judgment, R. v. Tangerine & Veolia, provides a definitive authority on the approach to offences of breach of ss 2(1) & 3(1) HSWA.
Richard is co-author of the leading textbook on Health and Safety Enforcement (Health and Safety: Law and Practice; Oxford University Press, 3rd Edition, November 2010). He advised the Home Office Legal Advisors on the drafting of the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act 2007 and is the author of the Blackstone's Guide to the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (Oxford University Press).
Richard has advised extensively on criminal liability arising under sections 2/3 Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He has advised solicitors acting for directors investigated and charged in respect of personal responsibility for company health and safety failures (s.37) and conducted numerous trials concerning the same. He advises a number of major UK and international corporations on health and safety regulatory compliance. He has advised on and conducted numerous appeals against HSE and local authority prohibition/improvement notices and in relation to licensed activities subject to appeal to the Secretary of State.
Richard advised the HSE and Environment Agency in respect of the investigation into the Buncefield Oil Depot explosion and fire of December 2005 and prosecuted the case at trial. Recently, he led the prosecution of Marks & Spencer Plc in a lengthy trial arising from risks of asbestos exposure to workers and the public in the company’s Reading store during refurbishment work, which culminated in the imposition of a £1 million fine.
His practice extends to advising and acting for Fire & Rescue Authorities, public authorities, corporations and individuals in respect of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and he was one of the speakers at the 2010 National Fire Law Conference. He has advised on the issuance and appeal against enforcement notices; advised responsible persons in relation to compliance and recently conducted the prosecution of a landlord/ responsible person of a HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) who was imprisoned for breaches of the Order following a fire in which a tenant received horrific injuries. He was also instructed to advise the London Borough of Southwark following the fatal fire at the Lakanal flats.
His environmental work includes advising and having acted for corporations in cases concerned with the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Water Resource Act 1991, groundwater / controlled waters pollution, waste management regulation, waste permits / licenses, Producer Responsibility Obligations and Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations.
Richard recently represented Murfitts Industries Ltd at Cambridge Crown Court in a prosecution brought two years after a devastating fire at the company’s licensed tyre recycling facility in Littleport for an alleged breach of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 relating to the keeping of controlled waste allegedly in a manner likely to cause pollution. After two days of argument and following rulings by the trial judge, the EA offered no evidence and the company was acquitted.
Contact Details: Richard Matthews QC
2 Bedford Row, London WC1R 4BU Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0)20 74408888