Michael Mather-Lees KC


Head of Chambers. Legal 500, 2012 to 2021 & 2023, Ranked as a Leading Silk

Year of Call: 1981
Year of Silk: 2012
'Michael has a forensic approach to expert evidence, in particular medical topics and pathology, and is able to draw on a wealth of experience. He is concise and focused in his approach.'

– Legal 500 2023, Ranked as a Leading Silk

‘An eloquent silk with particular expertise in cases involving complex medical evidence. Provides pragmatic advice and adopts excellent strategy in the most complex of cases. He possesses a quiet calmness and confidence indicative of a Counsel that is aware of his expertise and skill, with no need to shout about it, incredibly effective in his style of advocacy and yet calm and reassuring manner with clients and their families.’

– Legal 500 2021, Ranked as a Leading Silk

"A confident and strong advocate who has great presence in the court room."

– Legal 500 2020, Ranked as a Leading Silk

"A brilliant advocate"

– Legal 500, 2018 Tier 1 Silk

"A strong presence in court and has a good rapport with his clients."

– Legal 500, 2019

"Regularly handles murder and manslaughter cases on behalf of both the prosecution and defence as part of a busy general crime practice. Recent work: Successfully defended a professional man charged with causing death by dangerous driving. The case involved complex scientific evidence and detailed cross-examination of expert witnesses."

– Chambers UK, 2017

"He has expertise in public interest immunity, complex fraud and medico-legal cases."

– Legal 500, 2016

Ranked in Legal 500 2016 as a leading Silk on the Wales & Chester Circuit

"Known for his expertise in medico legal cases."

– Legal 500, 2015

"A ‘Leading Silk’ on the Wales and Chester Circuit: ‘Noted for his ability to evaluate complex evidence, particularly in medico-legal cases."

– Legal 500, 2014

"Primarily prosecutes complex criminal law cases. He is recommended in matters where there is significant medical evidence, such as murder and violent crimes." (Chambers UK Guide 2015)

– Chambers UK Guide, 2015

"Michael Mather-Lees KC is recommended for medico-legal cases, as well as fraud and confiscation work."

– Legal 500, 2013

"Michael Mather-Lees KC receives praise for his ‘exceptional intellect.’ He runs a broad practice but is particularly renowned for his work on fraud cases."

– Chambers UK 2013

"Michael Mather-Lees is recommended for VAT, fraud and medico-legal cases."

– Legal 500, 2012

"Michael Mather-Lees really shines as a barrister who specialises in medico-legal cases and serious and complex fraud matters."

– Chambers UK 2011

Michael Mather-Lees is "intellectually exceptional but also down to earth."

– Chambers UK 2009

The Legal 500 2019 describes him as “A confident and strong advocate, who has great presence in the court room”; the 2018 edition describes him as a leading silk and “a brilliant advocate” and in both 2017 and 2016 he was ranked him as a leading silk, stating that “he is noted for his ability to evaluate complex evidence, particularly in medico-legal cases”

Chambers Legal Directory states: “He primarily undertakes complex criminal law cases. He is recommended in matters where there is significant medical evidence, such as murder and violent crimes.”

His practice covers the most serious criminal cases, having prosecuted and defended many homicide cases, complex sexual cases, including internet-based offences and serious fraud (including internet fraud) together with cases involving vast volume and very intricate issues of disclosure, up to and including the most sensitive levels. The majority of these cases now involve the ability to both understand and be conversant with detailed computerised technology and the use of web-based information.

He is noted for his extensive experience in medico-legal litigation, both criminal and civil, and has recently successfully defended a Police Detention Officer charged with unlawful act manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter. That case involved very detailed and specialised medical evidence and the cross-examination of eminent medical specialists, and has extensive experience in cases of “baby shaking” murders, both prosecuting and defending.

In addition, he also undertakes a substantial amount of regulatory work, including Health and Safety, Police Discipline, Motor Vehicle Licencing and Regulatory, Medical Defence, Inquests, Public Enquiries and Environmental Law, Disciplinary Tribunal work and Courts Martial.

Having practiced for many years as a junior in complex cases of Clinical Negligence and personal injury, he has, since being in Silk, re-engaged in this area. He has a particular and specialised interest in forensic medicine.

Notable Cases

  • R v Heath (2000) Crim LR 109

    Duress -involvement in drugs operation following threats of physical violence arising out of debt.

  • R v Anthony Court of Appeal (1998)

    Inadmissibility of medical evidence – infant death x 2 (Munchausen/apnoea), substitution of verdict by virtue of additional evidence.

  • Broome v Perkins (1987) Crim LR 271

    Driving without due care and attention – diabetic in hypoglycaemic state – defence of automatism.

  • R v M

    Mixed statements of partial confession.

  • R v S 2010


  • R v Whelan: (2017)

    Successful appeal of minimum term for murder.

  • R v G (2019)

    Baby shaking S 18.

  • R v X (2019)

    Infant genital mutilation.

  • R v C (2019)

    Defence of “baby shaking” murder.

  • R v M (2019)

    Appellate counsel – “baby shaking” murder.

  • R v AH (2018)

    Defence of gang murder by stabbing.

  • R v K (2018)

    Defence of “baby shaking” murder.

  • R v M (2018)

    Re Appeal multi-count sexual offences.

  • R v C (2019)

    Defence of “baby shaking murder.”

  • R v M (2019)

    Appellate counsel – “baby shaking” murder.

  • R v K, M& T (2017)

    Successful defence of police detention officer charged with manslaughter (death in custody).

  • R v T, K, T & C (2017)

    Successful prosecution of international conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

  • R v T (2017)

    Defence of complex attempt murder.

  • R v S (2017)

    Successful resolution of case involving multi-handed defendants charged with murder, public disorder, and firearms.

  • R v Tancos and Others (2016)

    This was a multi handed, evidentially complex, modern slavery prosecution, tried over a period of three months, all defendants convicted. It involved the use of Czech Nationals, many of whom were either under a disability of vulnerable, and required a very high level of witness care. Most of the witnesses spoke little or no English. Much of the evidence was presented as a result of multi-agency international co-operation, together with live link evidence for extra territorial locations.

  • R v Richardson (2016

    Successful defence to murder, involving complex medical evidence and issues of causation.

  • R v J (2016)

    Baby shaking case which involved complex issues of causation and cross examination of expert medical witnesses. The case was partially successful, as acquittals, were secured in respect of historic injuries.

  • R v Whelan (2016)

    Defence in multi handed drugs related murder.

  • R v O’ Connell (2016)

    Defending in murder involving the victim being burned to death, detailed submissions in respect of aggravating issues.

  • R v Ahmed and Deacon (2016)

    Successful prosecution of drugs related murder with complex evidential issues.

  • R v H (2015)

    Successfully defended a professional man, charged with causing death by dangerous driving. The case involved complex scientific evidence and detailed cross-examination of expert witnesses.

  • R v B (2015)

    Successful prosecution of murder/manslaughter.

  • R v P (2014)

    Successful prosecution of defendant denying homicide of baby, involving very complex medical evidence.

  • R v S (2014)

    Defence of person under very serious intellectual disability, charged with serious sexual offences.

  • R v A (2014)

    R v A (2014) Defence of serious sexual offences.

  • R v M (2014)

    Defence – Murder.

  • R v KN (2015)

    Successful defence of Company Director, avoiding director’s disqualification.


Affiliated International Member of the American Bar Association

Member of Inner Temple

South Eastern Circuit

Wales and Chester Circuit

Western Circuit

Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers

Criminal Bar Association

European Bar Group


Kings’s Counsel

CPS Advocates Panel – Fraud

CPS Advocates Panel – Serious Crime

CPS Advocates Panel – Proceeds of Crime

CPS Advocates Panel – Rape and Sexual Offences

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