Matthew Harding

Matthew Harding
Year of call:



2001 - Leeds Metropolitan University, LLB (Hons)

2002 - Manchester Metropolitan University, BVC


2002 - Pupil at 39 Park Square, Leeds

2003 - Tenant at 39 Park Square

2014 - Tenant at No 6, Leeds

2015 - No 6 becomes Park Square Barristers


Grade 4 prosecutor



North Eastern Circuit

Criminal Bar Association

Ranked in Chambers and Partners (2024) for Crime.

“Mr Harding’s extensive knowledge of all areas of criminal law, in particular in relation to complex violent or sexual offences, makes his advocacy seem effortless.” – Chambers and Partners (2024)

Matthew Harding is an experienced and accomplished jury advocate, regularly instructed in serious matters including murder and attempted murder, people-trafficking, serious violence, firearms, conspiracies to supply drugs, high-value offences of dishonesty, and rape and other serious sexual offences. He also accepts instructions in all types of confiscation proceedings.

Although instructed across the entire spectrum of criminal matters, Matthew regularly acts for those charged with sexual offences. He has a wealth of experience in the questioning of vulnerable and child witnesses, and well understands the skills and approach required in this particularly challenging and sensitive area.

More recently, Matthew has undertaken pre-recorded cross-examination under the Section 28 pilot scheme in Leeds, a process necessitating the early identification of the issues in a particular case and requiring careful and expeditious case management.

“Matthew is hard-working, conscientious and very knowledgeable. He will leave no stone unturned to achieve the best possible result.” – Chambers and Partners (2024)

“He is tenacious and determined in his advocacy, but approachable and attentive with clients. He is fastidious in preparation and case management.” – Chambers and Partners (2021)

“Recent work includes customs fraud, and drug conspiracies.” – The Legal 500 (2021)

“He has excellent client skills and powerful advocacy” – Chambers and Partners (2020)

“He understands the value of meticulously prepared witness examination and the power of a well-crafted closing speech.”

Notable cases

  • R v J, Manchester Crown Court – Historical sexual abuse, 13 complainants
  • R v L & Others, York Crown Court – Successful dismissal argument concerning causation in double death by dangerous driving allegation
  • R v P & Another, Leeds Crown Court – Double murder
  • R v T & Others, Hull Crown Court – Child rape, legal argument re aiding and abetting by presence
  • R v A, Leeds Crown Court – Historical sexual abuse, Section 28 case.


Renowned for his meticulous case management and eye for detail, Matthew assumes a hands-on approach to all cases. He prides himself on providing detailed written advices in all matters, irrespective of their size and/or complexity. He ensures no stone is left unturned, with a particular emphasis on disclosure.

Matthew understands that effective communication with both professional and lay clients is an essential part of case management and preparation and, as a result, he is always available to advise and discuss issues as and when they arise.

Matthew has a hugely effective manner with clients. Many have spoken of the care and attention he has given them and their cases. This is frequently reflected in powerful and effective mitigations, often in the most difficult and challenging matters.

He is an experienced and accomplished jury advocate and knows well the value of meticulously prepared examination of witnesses and a well-crafted closing speech.


Matthew provides training to solicitors on a number of subjects, including the drafting of defence statements, bad character and hearsay. He provides bespoke training in-house or in chambers.

Contact Matthew’s clerks

Andrew Thornton on 0113 213 5202

Gina Hawkins on 0113 213 5205

Rebecca Wilson on 0113 213 5203

Hannah Dempsey on 0113 213 5211

Lucy Finney on 0113 213 5220

Matthew Harding is a specialist in sports law, having a personal interest in the sports themselves as well as their management and governance. While he is happy to advise in all aspects of sport-related law, he has a particular interest in doping and ABP cases.

Matthew brings a keen forensic eye and meticulous case-management to this fast-growing area of law.

“Matthew understands the need for absolute discretion throughout any proceedings.”

Notable cases

In 2014, Matthew represented former Team Sky rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke before the National Anti-Doping Panel in London. This was the first Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) case to come before the UK’s National Anti-Doping Panel, and raised complex and novel scientific issues. The client had faced allegations of using a prohibited substance or method in contravention of the Anti-Doping Rules of cycling’s governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale, while riding for the Endura Racing Team in 2012.


He understands the importance of effective communication with professional and lay clients, and is always available to advise. Matthew’s effective manner leads clients to mention his care and attention towards them and their cases. This is reflected in effective submissions, often in the most difficult and challenging matters.


Matthew provides training to solicitors on a number of subjects, in-house or in chambers.

Contact Matthew’s clerk

Madeleine Gray on 0113 202 8603

Patrick Urbina on 0113 213 5250


Chambers and partners 2018