“Matthew Hardcastle is a consummate criminal solicitor, with an excellent feel for a case and a determination to do everything that he can for his clients.”

Legal 500 UK 2022

"Specialises in pre-charge litigation."

Legal 500 UK 2021

Matthew’s specialty is in pre-charge investigations and litigation. Matthew has particular experience acting in high-profiles matters, including cases involving members of the media, the entertainment industry, professional athletes, politicians, and regulated individuals. Matthew is also a member of the Prosecution Oversight Panel of the RSPCA.


Matthew has acted in a number of the most significant investigations of the past five years and has established himself as one of the country’s leading specialists in Sexual Misconduct in the Workplace investigations providing advice to both companies and individuals.

Matthew regularly acts for regulated individuals and company officers facing a criminal investigation, including in a number of significant SFO investigators and prosecutions. Matthew also acts for young people accused of serious criminal offences.

Matthew combines his practice with academic work and he is the author of the leading practitioners’ texts on providing advice during a criminal investigation. He is the co-author of three books on police station law and procedure (Defending Suspects at Police StationsAdvising the Suspect; and Blackstone’s Police Station Handbook); the co-author of Legal Action Group’s Police Station: Update; and on the editorial review board of The Criminal Law Review

During 2018, Matthew was appointed as a Specialist Advisor to the House of Commons Justice Select Committee for their inquiry into the Disclosure of Evidence in Criminal Cases. 

recent cases


  • Representing an Executive Committee Member of a multi-national company during an internal investigation.
  • Providing specialist advice to leading law-firms and chambers in relation to Sexual Misconduct in the Workplace investigations.
  • Representing internationally famous members of the film and TV industry in relation to #MeToo allegations.
  • Representing regulated individuals accused of Sexual Misconduct in the Workplace.
  • Providing advice and assistance to senior officers in regulatory matters.

2018 – 2019

  • Representing a senior member of the finance industry during an SFO investigation.
  • Representing a professional athlete accused of the sexual assault of a television personality.
  • Representing a prominent entertainer accused of historic sexual offences.
  • Representing regulated individuals accused of dishonesty offences.
  • Acting as the disclosure officer in a private prosecution.


  • Representing a former CEO in an SFO prosecution.
  • Representing a banker accused of fraudulent trading.
  • Representing a legal executive accused of sexual assault.
  • Representing a client in a complex ‘land-banking’ and ‘Carbon Credit’ fraud.
  • Representing a political candidate accused of an offence under the Representation of the People Act 1983


Professional memberships and societies


PUBLICATIONS, Press Highlights and Speaking Engagements


  • Defending Suspects at Police Stations (8th Edition) (Legal Action Group).
  • Advising the Suspect (Legal Action Group).
  • Blackstone’s Police Station Handbook (Oxford University Press).


  • Police Station: Update (Legal Action Group).


  •  The Changing Status of the Defence Solicitor (The Criminal Law Review: Crim. L. R. 2016, 11, 830 – 843).
  • COVID-19: Managing health and risk whilst in police custody (The Law Society Gazette).


Related Services

Sexual Offences

We deal with the highest profile and most sensitive cases, providing expert advice and support to both individuals and companies.

Assault, Murder and Other Offences Involving Violence

Our lawyers have a wealth of experience in dealing with allegation of serious crime including offences against the person such as assault, murder and manslaughter throughout the life of a case from the police station through to trial.

Bribery and Corruption

We have a long track record of defending corruption investigations for individuals. Our expert lawyers can also advise on internal investigations.

Serious Fraud

Defending complex white collar cases successfully is what we are known for. The firm has the largest team of specialist criminal lawyers in the UK.

Criminal Defence and Police Investigations

From police station representation and advice to restraint and confiscation proceedings, we are proactive in achieving the best outcomes.

Police Station Representation and Advice

Our team includes specialist police station advisers. We are proactive in achieving the best outcomes for our clients.

Youth Crime and the Law

Our experienced youth crime lawyers are committed to understanding your child and finding a solution that protects their reputation.

Sexual Misconduct in the Workplace

We advise organisations and individuals dealing with sexual misconduct in the workplace.

Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering

Recent years have seen considerable growth in this practice area, following the introduction of new measures designed to tackle illicit finance and the increased attention of enforcement agencies.

Account Freezing and Forfeiture Orders, and Cash Seizure

Tackling illicit finance and the proceeds of crime is a government priority and law enforcement focus.

AML Compliance

Ensuring that the UK financial system is an increasingly hostile environment for illicit finances is a key government priority.

Restraint Orders, Confiscation and Third Party Rights

We advise individuals and corporates in relation to restraint orders and third party applications in respect of property caught by restraint orders.

Unexplained Wealth Orders

UWOs are used by law enforcement agencies to require an individual to prove that a particular asset was obtained through legitimate means.

Extending Moratorium Periods

Another feature of the Proceeds of Crime Act that can have the unwelcome effect of freezing property is the 'moratorium period'

Political Affairs

Our international work includes dealing with the suite of issues that may arise from politically motivated persecutions.


When an individual or company is faced with a criminal or regulatory investigation we manage every step of the process.

Insight from Matthew

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Misconduct in the (cyber) workplace

COVID-19 - Criminal justice at the coalface

COVID-19: Managing health and risk whilst in police custody - an update

COVID-19 - Managing health and risk whilst in police custody

Joe Marler and the case of the arched eyebrow

Regulatory proceedings: no longer least said, soonest mended

Lie detection tests for convicted domestic abuse offenders is a costly distraction

Sex for rent / rent for sex - revised CPS guidance

How best to react to claims of sexual misconduct

The risk of Salmond’s aggressive approach to allegations

PACE under review: no excuse for failing to maintain the dignity of those held in custody

Facing a sexual misconduct allegation at work: the importance of your first account

Caution Needed - Private Prosecutions and Criminal Cautions

Starting a private prosecution; getting it right first time

Sexual History: DPP’s clarification welcome

When should the police name a suspect?

The Trial: A Murder in the Family – The Verdict

The Trial: A Murder in the Family – The Jury

The Trial: A Murder in the Family – The Evidence

The Trial: A Murder in the Family – Where are the Solicitors?

The Trial: A Murder in the Family - Why No Comment

All change for the PACE codes of practice?

Access to court is not access to justice

When Inaction Becomes Criminal

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