Matthew Smith

Contact details

07968 854668

029 2068 6165

Matthew Smith is an excellent lawyer and is extremely bright. He steers complicated cases through difficult waters in a calm and efficient manner.

Chambers and Partners, 2022

Matthew heads our national Education Sector practice. Matthew also provides employment advice to key clients in the Education, Health & Social Care, Retail & Leisure and Financial Services Sectors. Matthew is a supervisor of Employment Tribunal work amongst other matters.

Matthew deals with employment-related litigation at all levels from the Employment Tribunal to the Supreme Court. He is an expert advisor on claims of unfair dismissal, sex, race, disability, age and other discrimination and whistleblowing cases and an experienced chairman of internal disciplinary and appeal hearings for clients. Matthew also has experience in large scale reorganisations and redundancy exercises.

Higher Education

Matthew leads the Education Sector for the firm. He is particularly experienced in dealing with disciplinary and grievance proceedings and other issues raised by employees, including discrimination claims.  For example, Matthew and his team have dealt with cases for universities in the Employment Tribunal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal and have successfully defended claims of unfair dismissal, alleged discrimination in a range of contexts (including race, sex, disability, religion and age), whistleblowing and TUPE transfers. In a number of recent cases, the team has also obtained substantial costs awards in favour of our university clients.

Matthew has considerable experience of the interpretation of the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances of university clients in an employment context. He has also chaired a number of disciplinary and appeal hearings, sitting alongside panel members drawn from the academic staff or from the university’s governing body.


Matthew has provided advice on wide-ranging restructurings and reorganisations in the NHS, including the implications of Agenda for Change and the NHS Wales “Organisational Change Policy”. He has also acted for LHBs and NHS Trusts in a number of Employment Tribunal cases across a range of issues and involving both medical and non-medical staff. Many of these cases have involved allegations of discrimination or whistleblowing, as well as claims of unfair and wrongful dismissal and other claims across the spectrum of employment rights.
Matthew also advises LHBs in the specialist and sensitive area of the disciplining and dismissal of doctors and the particular considerations which arise in such cases.

Financial Services

Matthew has broad experience in this sector, including conducting Employment Tribunal cases for one of the UK’s leading retail banks and advising the Principality Building Society.

Retail and Leisure

Matthew leads our retail employment team and provides expert, practical advice to some of the UK’s leading retailers and brands.
Matthew has also devised and contributed to a wide variety of training seminars across the spectrum of employment law issues. He has made a number of appearances on BBC Radio and as a speaker at employment law conferences.


Matthew has advised a wide range of clients in the Education Sector including the Universities of Aberystwyth, Bristol, Cardiff, South Wales and Swansea and a number of further education institutions.

Matthew also acts for a number of leading retailers and brands including Dolce & Gabbana, Russell & Bromley and Diesel.
In the health sector, Matthew acts for a variety of NHS organisations, including in the specialist area of disciplining doctors.

Significant experience

  • Acting for Serco in the House of Lords (now Supreme Court) case of Lawson v Serco Ltd [2006] UKHL 3
  • Acting for Swansea University & the Trustees of Swansea University Pension Scheme in the leading case on “unfavorable treatment” under the Equality Act 2010. The case is reported in the EAT at [2015] IRLR 885 and is now before the Court of Appeal.

Higher Education

  • Matthew heads our Education Sector, where we are a nationally recognised adviser to Higher & Further Education institutions and to state and independent schools.
  • Matthew’s experience includes successfully defending multi-day discrimination claims in the Employment Tribunal and EAT, including obtaining two costs awards of £10,000 against unsuccessful claimants.

Health & Social Care

  • Being one of 3 employment partners leading our advice to the whole of the NHS in Wales.
  • Assisting NHS clients in a number of successful (and sensitive) restructurings including at executive level.
  • Successfully defending a health sector client in a multi-day whistleblowing and unfair dismissal complaint, achieving the dismissal of the claims and a substantial costs award.

Financial Services

  • Defending a major UK retail bank in a number of Employment Tribunal cases, with a 100% success rate.
  • Acting for Wales’ leading building society, the Principality Building Society.




Matthew completed his LLB at the University of Cambridge in 1991 before sitting his Law Society Finals Exam. He qualified as a solicitor in 1995.

Contact details

07968 854668

029 2068 6165

Top Ranked Uk Chambers 2018 Top Tier Firms
  • The Law Society
  • The Employment Lawyers’ Association
  • The HR Retail Circle


"Matthew Smith sets the standard when it come to commercial understanding; relationship management; and creative approaches that gives the client control and perspective."

Legal 500, 2022

"He has great knowledge of the law and is caring and understanding."

Chambers and Partners, 2020

The 'unflappable and experienced' Matthew Smith specialises in contentious work, recently handling a high-profile Supreme Court matter which clarified the law relating to "unfavourable treatment" under the Equality Act 2010.

Legal 500, 2020

Matthew Smith specialises in contentious employment work, frequently representing schools, universities and NHS organisations. A client says: "He is an utter gentleman, and a fount of knowledge and patience."

Chambers and Partners, 2019

We have the upmost trust and faith in Matthew and we always feel assured having spoken to him.

HR Business Partner Global High Fashion Brand

Especially adept in all aspects of non-contentious and contentious employment matters and has chaired a number of disciplinary and appeal hearings for universities.

Legal 500, 2018

A fantastic lawyer.

Chambers & Partners UK, 2018

Insights by Matthew


16 February - Matthew Smith

The Office for Students (OfS) is the independent regulator for higher education in England. The aim of the OfS is to ensure that every student, whatever their background, has a...

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12 November - Matthew Smith

The Welsh Government has announced its proposal radically to reform tertiary education in Wales, including the regulation of universities and colleges in Wales. Some elements of the organisation of tertiary...

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31 January - Matthew Smith

This article first appeared in People Management on 31 January 2019. How can employers avoid treating employees unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of their disability? This can be a potential...

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