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Matthew McGhee

Matthew became a tenant at 20 Essex Street in September 2014 upon completion of pupillage and has a broad commercial practice. He is regularly instructed to advise or act in national & international litigation & arbitrations across chambers' practice areas. Recent instructions have had a particular focus on disputes concerning energy, civil fraud, shipping & commodities, company & insolvency, banking & finance, and a wide range of other contractual and commercial disputes.

Matthew has recently been instructed as part of a team in a number of large commercial disputes, as well as to advise, draft pleadings or act in a variety of other matters as sole counsel. He regularly appears in both the High Court and County Courts and is familiar with using interim relief to protect his clients' positions, having frequently been instructed to obtain emergency injunctions in the High Court (including freezing orders). Matthew is happy to accept instructions on a direct access basis.

Before coming to the Bar, Matthew read Law at Magdalen College, Oxford.

Specialisations: 

Commercial & Private International Law

Matthew has experience of large-scale international commercial litigation and is currently instructed in Libyan Investment Authority v Société Générale & ors (Claim no: CL-2014-000144), a US$2.1 billion claim brought by the sovereign wealth fund against the international investment bank and a third party seeking rescission of a number of derivative options and other investments on the grounds of fraud and illegality. He has previously been instructed by a leading international timeshare exchange network in relation to a group litigation claim brought by its members. 

He also regularly acts as sole counsel and has often been required to appear on an urgent basis to obtain injunctions, including freezing orders and other similar preventative measures. 

Other recent matters on which Matthew has worked include advising a shipyard in respect of a claim for defective work (with David Lewis QC), the payment of introduction agents in the music industry, and a dispute over design consultancy and website-hosting agreements. He also advises in non-contentious situations, having recently done so on the construction of a proposed oil well services agreement.

Matthew also has experience of claims in respect of:

  • Telecommunication and media disputes
  • Breach of confidence
  • Misrepresentation
  • Ship construction
  • Agency
  • Competition law (including 'follow on' damages)

As a pupil, Matthew assisted Christopher Hancock QC and Malcolm Jarvis on Assuranceforeningen Gard Gjensidig v International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund 1971 [2014] EWHC 3369 (Comm), a case concerning whether a Club and an international organisation had reached a finance agreement and, if so, whether the international organisation had immunity from suit. Matthew also assisted on the earlier freezing injunction application ([2014] 2 Lloyd's Rep 219).

Shipping

Matthew frequently advises and acts (either with a leader or as sole counsel) in shipping disputes, both in court (including the admiralty division) and arbitration. His recent cases have included a US$ 9million arbitration claim concerning an assigned indemnity under a charterparty (with Timothy Young QC), a US$ 750,000 claim for defective repair work against a shipyard (with David Lewis QC), and a US$ 36million arbitration claim in relation to a time charter and a back-dated shipbuilding contract (with Andrew Baker QC and Thomas Corby).

Matthew spent 2 months working in-house with a Norwegian Defence Club in 2015, where he regularly drafted advice and arbitration submissions. His work spanned the full range of shipping disputes, including in relation to bareboat charters and ship sale agreements.

Matthew has experience of claims across all areas of shipping law, including in respect of:

  • Hire & freight
  • Pilotage & towage
  • Detention, delay & demurrage
  • Port & voyage safety
  • Bunkers
  • Bills of lading & cargo claims
  • General average & marine insurance
  • Collisions & other matters

As a pupil, Matthew assisted Michael Tselentis QC and Socrates Papadopoulos on Standard Chartered Bank v Dorchester LNG (2) Ltd [2015] 1 Lloyd's Rep 97, a case in the Court of Appeal concerning when a party becomes a "holder" of a bill of lading under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1992.

Commodities & Sale of Goods

Matthew has a wide range of commodities experience, including a variety of standard terms such as SCoTA, GAFTA, FOSFA & the Shell GTCs.

Matthew was recently instructed in a US$13million claim concerning property and security interests in steel held by a port authority (with Julian Kenny QC). He is currently instructed as sole counsel in a US$3.2 million ICC arbitration concerning off-specification acetone.

Matthew also has experience of claims in respect of:

  • Conversion
  • The passing of property & risk
  • Prohibition on import/export
  • Calculation of loss

As a pupil, Matthew assisted Malcolm Jarvis on Soufflet Negoce SA v Fedcominvest Europe SARL [2014] 2 Lloyd's Rep 537, a case concerning the proper interpretation of the standard GAFTA notice clause.

Energy

Further to his general commodities practice, Matthew understands the specific issues that arise in the context of disputes concerning coal, oil & gas, etc., and has experience of industry standard forms such as SCoTA & the Shell GTCs.

He has previously been instructed in a US$25million ICC arbitration concerning a long term gas supply contract (with Michael Ashcroft QC), and to advise on the construction of a termination clause in an oil well services agreement which incorporated LOGIC terms. Matthew has also acted as tribunal secretary (to Julian Lew QC) in a US$ 5.8 million arbitration concerning a dispute as to the construction of a joint venture & financing agreement in relation to oil and gas exploration.

As a pupil, Matthew assisted Christopher Hancock QC and Malcolm Jarvis on Assuranceforeningen Gard Gjensidig v International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund 1971 [2014] EWHC 3369 (Comm), a case concerning the existence of a legally binding agreement for funding interim compensation payments for oil pollution damage. Matthew also assisted on the earlier freezing injunction application ([2014] 2 Lloyd's Rep 219).

As a pupil, Matthew also assisted Duncan Mathews QC and Luke Pearce on OMV Petrom SA v Glencore International AG [2014] 2 Lloyd's Rep 308 in an application to strike out a Defence to a US$40 million fraud claim against the international commodities house. 

Company & Insolvency Law

Many of the disputes on which Matthew has worked have involved company law issues and he frequently appears in the Companies Court and County Courts in matters of corporate insolvency and more general company law matters. He was recently instructed to obtain an emergency injunction in the High Court to prevent the removal of a director by a shareholders' meeting in circumstances where the company was of doubtful solvency.

Matthew is currently instructed in Libyan Investment Authority v Société Générale & ors (Claim no: CL-2014-000144), a US$2.1 billion claim brought by the sovereign wealth fund against the international investment bank, which includes allegations of breaches of fiduciary duty by the Authority's officers and procurement of the same. The case also involves an interim receivership and a dispute over the authority of the Authority's officers. Matthew has previously been instructed in a group litigation claim which alleged breach by the directors of an international timeshare exchange company of their fiduciary duties. 

Matthew is also familiar with issues raised in cross-border insolvency situations, and has made applications in the English courts to facilitate the assistance of foreign courts in a bankruptcy. He also regularly advises and appears in bankruptcy proceedings in relation to individuals and partnerships, and has acted for office holders in applications to set aside statutory demands, transactions entered into at an undervalue and transactions to defraud creditors.

Matthew also has experience of claims in respect of:

  • Knowing receipt & dishonest assistance
  • Applications under the Insolvency Act 1986
  • Breach of trust & other fiduciary duties
  • Shareholder rights
  • Share purchase agreements

Matthew regularly speaks on corporate and personal insolvency at R3 conferences and seminars on topics including how office-holders can best recover losses in insolvency, how to make use of the rule against reflective loss, how to bring claims against directors & third parties, and the management of limitation issues.

 

Banking & Finance

Matthew is currently instructed in Libyan Investment Authority v Société Générale & ors (Claim no: CL-2014-000144), a US$2.1 billion claim brought by the sovereign wealth fund against the international investment bank and a third party, seeking rescission of a number of derivative options and other investments on the grounds of fraud and illegality. 

Matthew has previously been instructed by a leading international bank in relation to the FCA review of the misselling of interest rate hedging products. He has also been instructed on matters concerning litigation funding, priority debt agreements, and other financial arrangements including guarantees, letters of credit and bills of exchange.

Matthew has also acted as tribunal secretary (to Julian Lew QC) in a US$ 5.8million arbitration concerning a dispute as to the construction of a joint venture & financing agreement in relation to oil and gas exploration.

Civil Fraud

Matthew is currently instructed in Libyan Investment Authority v Société Générale & ors (Claim no: CL-2014-000144), a US$2.1 billion claim brought by the sovereign wealth fund against the international investment bank and a third party, seeking rescission of a number of derivative options and other investments on the grounds of fraud and illegality. 

Matthew has also been instructed in a number of cases of international 'man in the middle' frauds. He has been instructed by defrauded parties to trace and secure the recovery of fraudulently obtained assets; other instructions have been to act for the counterparty of the defrauded party where that party is seeking to pass on its losses. He has also been instructed (with Andrew Baker QC and Thomas Corby) in an arbitration considering the validity of a time charterparty entered into to finance the construction of a vessel under an illegal shipbuilding contract 

As a pupil, Matthew assisted Duncan Mathews QC and Luke Pearce on OMV Petrom SA v Glencore International AG [2014] 2 Lloyd's Rep 308 in an application to strike out a Defence to a US$40 million fraud claim against the international commodities house. 

Insurance & Reinsurance

As a pupil, Matthew assisted Iain Milligan QC on The Federal Mogul Asbestos Personal Injury Trust v Federal-Mogul Ltd & ors [2014] Lloyd's Rep IR 671, a case concerning the extent of the obligations owed by a liability reinsurer when conducting an insured's defence.

Education and Career: 

Education

Magdalen College, Oxford: BA (Hons) Jurisprudence, First (2012)

Kaplan Law School: BPTC, Very Competent (2013)

Scholarships

Lord Denning Scholarship and Hardwicke Award, Lincoln's Inn (2012)

Cholmeley Studentship, Lincoln's Inn (2013)

Phoenicia Scholarship, Bar European Group (2014)

Publications: 

'Reconsidering reflective loss: are creditors barred from recovery?' (2016) 37(6) Comp. Law. 178

20 Essex Street case update 'In dire straits: The true nature of bunker supply contracts' May 2016

20 Essex Street case update 'End of Shelf Life: The regulatory framework and legal issues involved when decommissioning oil & gas platforms' April 2016

20 Essex Street case update 'In dire straits: The true nature of bunker supply contracts' October 2015

The Lawyer Insolvency Briefing 'More time for claims from the twilight zone' January 2015

Appointments and Society Memberships: 

  • Bar European Group
  • COMBAR
  • ICC
  • London Shipping Law Centre
  • London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association
  • Young Fraud Lawyers Association (YFLA)
  • British Insurance Law Association
  • Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration