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 practices exclusively in crime and is instructed regularly in cases involving the most serious of offences, including murder, manslaughter, causing death by dangerous driving, wounding with intent, firearms, armed robbery, large-scale conspiracies to supply controlled drugs and serious sexual offending including multiple complainant rape cases (non-recent offending and cases involving particularly young and vulnerable complainants).

Matthew was one of the first advocates to undertake the pre-recorded cross-examination of witnesses as part of the Leeds Crown Court ‘pilot court’ implementation of section 28 of the YJCEA 1999. He has undertaken a significant number of such hearings involving children as young as 6 and witnesses with complex psychiatric and medical conditions.

Matthew has a hugely effective manner with clients.

“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 Badwal – led junior for the Crown, murder of father by son.
  • R v Tilleard – wounding with intent, defendant chopped off a rival’s hand with a machete during a large-scale gang fight.
  • R v Marsh – defended a young man charged with causing death by dangerous driving.
  • R v Bedford – defended a man with acute psychiatric issues accused of the attempted murder of an elderly neighbour.
  • R v Donaldson – led junior for the defence, murder, knife used in a dispute between rival groups.
  • R v Harriott – led junior for the defence, murder against a background of a gang feud, defendant 16 at the material time.
  • R v Cranfield – led junior for the defence, murder of the defendant’s close friend, knife used.
  • R v Paradzai – led junior for the defence, murder, background of an ongoing gang-related feud.
  • R v Jawadnass – defended a man who pleaded guilty to attempting to possess explosives with intent to endanger life.
  • R v Standage – defended a young woman charged with causing death by dangerous driving.
  • R v Rycroft – defended a father who pleaded guilty to unlawful act manslaughter of his son. Fleeing the scene of an accident caused when driving whilst intoxicated, he led his son onto the central reservation of the M62 motorway. His son was struck by a vehicle in the fast lane. The defendant fled the scene.
  • R v Calvert – defended a man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter arising from a single blow in a pub brawl.


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

Imogen Brown on 0113 2135225

Jenny Dwan on 01132135213

Chambers and partners 2018