Matthew Mills has a broad chancery practice encompassing: property, wills, trusts and estates, charities, insolvency, company and commercial matters. He regularly appears as a sole advocate in the County Court and the High Court, both in-person and remotely. Alongside full-time practice, he is a Lecturer in Land Law at the University of Oxford.
Matthew practises extensively in all aspects of property law alongside teaching Land Law at the University of Oxford. His expertise encompasses trusts of land, estoppel, easements, charges, and adverse possession (both freehold and leasehold). Matthew’s recent cases have involved:
- A contractual dispute arising out of the sale of a £5.65 million property
- A proprietary estoppel claim concerning multimillion-pound property development companies
- A dispute over the construction of a charge in relation to a debt worth £450,000.
Matthew also has a broad landlord and tenant practice. He has acted on behalf of both landlords and tenants in matters relating to the construction, rectification, enforcement and breach of leases. Recent highlights of his practice include:
- Acting on behalf of a management company against a QC in £1 million+ High Court disrepair proceedings
- Acting on behalf of a property management company in interim injunction proceedings relating to temporary accommodation during the pandemic: Merritt v Thurrock Council  EW Misc 2 (CC)
- Successfully representing clients in First-tier Tribunal proceedings for declarations of breach (e.g. here), the assessment of service charges (e.g. here), and the recovery of legal costs (e.g. here)
- Advising on various causes of action relating to tenants’ improvements
- Advising on commercial and residential possession proceedings during the pandemic.
During pupillage, Matthew:
- Shadowed counsel in the Court of Appeal in P&P Property Ltd v Owen White & Caitlin LLP  Ch 273 – a case concerning professional liability for conveyances made to identity fraudsters
- Assisted with Smyth-Tyrrell v Bowden  L & TR 23 – a case concerning agricultural tenancies, business tenancies and proprietary estoppel
- Assisted with Sensar Ltd v Kalivera Ltd – a High Court trial concerning the priorities of unregistered interests in land
- Assisted with a possession claim relating to a 400-acre farm
- Assisted with various professional negligence claims relating to conveyancing.
Matthew regularly advises and represents clients in relation to wills, trusts and estates. He has advised on the scope, delegation and breach of fiduciaries’ powers and duties, and the rectification of both wills and trusts. He has also advised and acted in claims seeking to challenge the validity of a will and claims brought pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
During a recent secondment to Dickinson Gleeson in Jersey, Matthew worked on Z Trust  JRC 072 (part of the leading litigation on insolvent trusts), the Crociani litigation, and Trico Ltd v Buckingham  JCA 067 (a contractual dispute heard by the Jersey Court of Appeal). He also assisted with an expert report on Jersey trusts law in an international dispute worth $200 million.
Matthew’s recent court work has covered rectification, the removal of executors, and the first case brought in the Business and Property Courts pursuant to the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017. Matthew also has experience of drafting summonses and affidavits for issue in the Probate Registries.
Matthew has recently presented webinars on the administration of estates and the removal of trustees (see here). He also writes on trusts law (see publications below), and previously taught and examined it as a Teaching Fellow at UCL.
Matthew is developing a particular expertise in all matters relating to charity law. Alongside his practice, he has published academic work on charity law topics and taught charitable trusts as a Teaching Fellow at UCL.
Matthew’s recent work has covered:
- The powers of a multimillion-pound charity to replace its board of trustees
- Substantial spending proposals by charitable trustees
- Disputes relating to properties owned by various charities
- A dispute between the charitable beneficiary of a will and the will’s executors
- The ‘incorporation’ of an unincorporated charity
- The construction of charitable gifts.
During pupillage, Matthew:
- Assisted with advice to the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland on its policies relating to certain categories of charities
- Assisted with advice to a charitable foundation in relation to an inheritance dispute
- Shadowed counsel in Miah v Hoque  EWHC 2645 (Ch) – a case concerning a dispute over access to a mosque run by an unincorporated charity.
Matthew has recently presented webinars on several charity law topics, including charity trustees’ powers, duties and decisions, and covid-related guidance for charities (see here). He has also recently published articles on the registration of grant-making charities and the Supreme Court’s decision in Lehtimaki v Cooper  UKSC 33 (see publications below).
Matthew regularly appears in the High Court and County Court on bankruptcy petitions, winding-up petitions and other insolvency matters, including without notice applications. He acts for debtors, petitioners and insolvency practitioners. Matthew also regularly advises on insolvency law and has provided a certificate of English law for an insolvency dispute abroad. Recently, Matthew represented joint liquidators at interim hearings in an antecedent transaction claim worth €33 million.
Matthew has also developed a broad company law practice. He has advised on directors’ rights, duties and remuneration, the construction of company charges and the rectification of the register of companies. Matthew’s practice also encompasses partnership disputes and the winding up of unincorporated associations.
During pupillage, Matthew:
- Shadowed counsel in Ingram (Liquidator of MSD Cash & Carry Plc) v Singh  BPIR 1343 – a case concerning de facto directors and preferences
- Assisted with Re D’Eye (A Bankrupt)  BPIR 411 – a case concerning third party costs orders in the insolvency context
- Assisted with resisting an application to seize £1.5 million of gold bars that a bankrupt had tried to move offshore
- Assisted with advice on the transfer of shares held on trust
- Assisted with conflict of laws advice relating to the migration of an offshore company between offshore jurisdictions.
Recently, Matthew has presented webinars on the latest insolvency cases and limitation periods in insolvency law (see here).
Matthew’s practice encompasses the full scope of commercial law. His recent work has raised issues of contractual construction, contractual variation, the enforceability of penalty clauses, and the delivery up of prize racehorses.
Matthew has experience of contractual disputes from the pre-action stage to trial. He has recently represented the defendant in a contractual claim worth over £700,000, and secured an order striking out a £185,000 claim brought against a debt collection agency for breach of data protection legislation, misrepresentation and harassment.
During pupillage, Matthew:
- Assisted with a £40 million commercial dispute over the enforceability of a bank’s mortgage and guarantee documents, which were subject to Scots law
- Shadowed counsel in Burki v Seventy Thirty Ltd  EWHC 2151 (QB) – a case concerning misrepresentation by and defamation of an online dating company.
Matthew has experience of chancery mediations and financial dispute resolution hearings. He is happy to accept instructions for the alternative dispute resolution of matters within his practice areas.
During pupillage, he assisted with various chancery mediations and shadowed a senior member of chambers in his capacity as a mediator.
Matthew is very happy to speak at open events or provide training to individual teams on topics within his practice areas. Matthew’s recent topics have covered coronavirus-related developments in charity law, property law, insolvency law and general litigation. Recordings of his webinars are available to watch on the Radcliffe Chambers YouTube channel (link).
Matthew has also published on a range of chancery topics:
- “Where duty lies” (2020) 219 Trusts and Estates Law & Tax Journal 3-10 (link) (a case note on Lehtimaki v Cooper  UKSC 33).
- “The Registration of Grant-Making Charities” (2019) 20 Charity Law & Practice Review 65 (link).
- “Costs and Co-operation: What Tenants Must do to Assist with Fire Safety”  23 Landlord and Tenant Review 183-187 (link).
- “Claiming an interest in someone else’s property—common intention (family home) constructive trusts (Sandford v Oliver)”, Lexis Nexis Q&A, 23rd September 2019 (link).
- “Discharging a Court of Protection security bond after P dies”  Private Client Business 26-30 (link).
- “Single name family home constructive trusts: is Lloyds Bank v Rosset still good law?”  Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 350-366 (link).
- “The Development of the Public Benefit Requirement for Charitable Trusts in the Nineteenth Century” (2016) 37 Journal of Legal History 269-302 (link).
- “Why the Supreme Court decision in AIB Group (UK) plc v Mark Redler & Co (a firm), on equitable compensation for breach of trust, should be reversed” (Estates Gazette Online).
- 2015 – 2016 BPTC at City University (Outstanding)
- 2014 – 2015 BCL at the University of Oxford
- 2013 – 2014 LLM at UCL (Distinction, 1st in year overall of 443)
- 2010 – 2013 MA in Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford (First Class)
Prior to coming to the Bar, Matthew was a Lecturer in Land Law at the University of Oxford and a Teaching Fellow in Trusts at UCL. Matthew also worked as a Legal Editor for the start-up ‘Sparqa’, where he researched and wrote practical guides to the legal issues that are most relevant to small businesses, including mortgages, leases, service charges and possession claims.
- 2017 Cholmeley Scholarship (Lincoln’s Inn)
- 2016 Buchanan Prize for BPTC results (Lincoln’s Inn)
- 2015 Lord Denning BPTC Scholarship (Lincoln’s Inn)
- 2015 City Law School Postgraduate Scholarship
- 2015 Hardwicke Entrance Award (Lincoln’s Inn)
- 2014 Full scholarship to study the BCL (University of Oxford)
- 2014 Pump Court Tax Chambers Prize for best performance in International and Commercial Trusts (UCL LLM)
- 2014 Best performance in Restitution (UCL LLM)
- 2014 Best performance in Legal History (UCL LLM)
- 2013 Finals prize (New College, University of Oxford)
- The Chancery Bar Association
- The Charity Law Association
- The Contentious Trusts Association (ConTrA)
- The Higher Education Academy (Associate Fellow)
- The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn
- The Property Bar Association