Matthew Mills has a broad chancery practice covering: property, wills, trusts and estates, charities, insolvency, commercial and pensions. He regularly appears as a sole advocate in both the County Court and the High Court. Alongside full-time practice, he is a Lecturer in Land Law at the University of Oxford.
Matthew practises in, writes on and teaches property law.
He has developed an extensive practice in real property disputes, encompassing trusts of land, estoppel, easements and adverse possession (both freehold and leasehold). Recently, he acted on behalf of a major bank seeking relief from forfeiture in a dispute in which the defendants instructed a QC.
Matthew has also established a general landlord and tenant practice. In addition to appearing in court, he has advised on the construction, rectification, enforcement and breach of leases by both landlords and tenants. Recently, he settled pleadings in a High Court disrepair claim worth over £1 million.
Matthew has appeared successfully in the First-tier Tribunal, County Court and High Court, where he once obtained 25 charging orders in one hearing in the Queen’s Bench Division.
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.
Alongside his practice at the Bar, Matthew teaches Land Law at Oriel College, University of Oxford.
Matthew regularly advises and represents clients in relation to wills, trusts and estates. He advises on the construction and rectification of wills, trusts and associated deeds and appears in court in associated proceedings. He has also 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. Recently, Matthew advised on the summonsing, examination and removal of executors in relation to a foreign grant of probate.
In 2018, Matthew worked for four weeks on an international investigation into a multimillion-dollar offshore trust.
Matthew also writes on trusts law, and previously taught and examined it as a Teaching Fellow at UCL.
Matthew has had an interest in charity law since university, where he wrote a dissertation (which was subsequently published) on the history of the public benefit requirement. Since then, Matthew has dealt in the more practical side of things. He has advised on the construction of charitable gifts and how a charity could most appropriately recover possession of one of its properties from a vulnerable tenant. Recently, Matthew provided advice on charity law to a team of criminal defence lawyers to assist with a Crown Court trial.
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 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 certificates of law for insolvency disputes in foreign courts. Recently, Matthew advised on possible insolvency options in England and Wales for a company registered in the BVI.
Matthew has also developed a broad company law practice. He has advised on directors’ duties, the construction of company charges and rectification claims. Matthew’s practice also encompasses partnership disputes.
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.
Matthew accepts instructions in all aspects of commercial law. He has experience advising on the construction, enforceability and breach of various types of contracts, and settling associated pleadings. He has also advised on service out of the jurisdiction for breach of contract. Recently, Matthew has advised companies on how best to deal with deadlock situations and how to recover seized goods.
In court, he has experience of contractual disputes from the pre-action stage to trial. Recently, he has acted in applications for disclosure, relief from sanctions and strike out/summary judgment.
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) – an unusual case concerning misrepresentation by and defamation of an online dating company.
During pupillage, Matthew assisted counsel with the appeal to the Court of Appeal in Burgess v BIC UK Ltd  Pens LR 17, a case concerning the potential reversal of historic pension increases. He also assisted in another matter with advice relating to the potential reduction of pension benefits.
Matthew has recently been instructed to prepare a defence to a claim brought against a member by his pension trustee following the High Court decision of Dalriada Trustees Ltd v Faulds  2 All ER 734.
Matthew accepts instructions for chancery mediations. 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 events and provide training to clients within his practice areas. Matthew’s recent speaking topics have included the Disclosure Pilot in the Business and Property Courts, Brexit and the CPR, and the Supreme Court decision of Regency Villas Title Ltd v Diamond Resorts (Europe) Ltd  AC 553.
Matthew has published on a range of chancery topics:
- “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