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Matthew Bonye


Matthew is the head of our Real Estate Dispute Resolution Practice.



Matthew is a specialist litigator dealing with high-value disputes in the commercial real estate sector. He helps clients achieve their objectives in matters such as development-driven land assembly claims, compensation for the compulsory purchase of land, ratings appeals and in handling other "big ticket" contractual disputes (for example in the context of acquisition/disposal transactions).  Matthew works with clients on large portfolio matters such as retail schemes, shopping centres and office developments in connection with service charge recovery, dilapidations claims, business lease renewals/terminations, break clause disputes and rent reviews.

Matthew's work spans cases in the High Court and appeal Courts as well as the County Courts and the Lands Chamber. He is also very experienced in all forms of alternative dispute resolution including arbitration, expert determination and mediation. 

Matthew has been ranked as a "Leading Practitioner" by both The Legal 500 and Chambers directories, for many years.  He was inducted as a member of The Legal 500's coveted Hall of Fame in 2018 and is ranked as a Band 1 Leading Individual in Chambers & Partners UK.  Matthew is praised as a "doyen of the field" and "vastly experienced and urbane" (The Legal 500), as well as "a premier lawyer in the real estate litigation arena. He is expert in matters such as business rates disputes and professional negligence claims. His experience is first class and he has good market knowledge." (Chambers and Partners UK, 2023)  

Matthew is contributing editor (Real Estate) to Flenley and Leech's Solicitors' Negligence and Liability (2020).

Matthew's experience includes advising:

  • The Tate Gallery in the leading case before the Supreme Court on whether privacy forms part of the tort of nuisance in relation to the claim brought by the owners of the neighbouring Neo Bankside apartments for overlooking from the public viewing platform  
  • The owner and developer of Ludgate House, London, in relation to on the high-profile Court of Appeal and Upper Tribunal business rates litigation in respect of the validity of property guardianship as a mitigation tool (including a claim for judicial review), with millions of pounds at stake
  • Hammerson and Brookfield in connection with the site assembly and development of two huge major City of London office schemes
  • Westfield in relation to tenant/service charge matters arising at their Shepherd's Bush shopping centre, London
  • abrdn (formerly Standard Life Investments and Aberdeen Investments), acting as appointed solicitor leading the Herbert Smith Freehills' team on all retail and office disputes for abrdn retail and office portfolios in southern England
  • Canary Wharf Group Plc in its claim against the administrators of Lehman Brothers, seeking damages for unilateral lease termination
  • Various successful High Court and Appeal Court decisions that made new law and delivered a win for his clients, including Standard Life v. Unipath - Court of Appeal (rent review), City Inn v. Ten Trinity Square Limited - Court of Appeal (restrictive covenants), Johnston and others v. TAG Farnborough Airport Ltd (compensation for runway works), Guinness v. Railtrack - Court of Appeal  (compensation for acquisition of land rights), Postel v. Boots (large scale development service charges) and Cerep v. Menolly (practical completion under development agreement), Ridgewood Properties Group Ltd v Valero Energy Ltd (alleged breach of covenant in relation to airspace agreements for residential development above petrol stations)



Matthew joined this firm as a trainee in 1992. He qualified as a solicitor in 1994 and has been a specialist real estate litigator ever since. He gained full rights of audience as an advocate in the Higher Courts in 1998.

Matthew became a partner in 2006 and has led our Real Estate Dispute Resolution practice since 2007.

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