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Matthew Townsend



Townsend Matthew
Matthew Townsend



Matt is co-head of the International Environmental, Climate and Regulatory Law Groups at Allen & Overy and one of the founders of the firm’s Global ESG Group. He also co-heads the International Trade Group. Matt advises on a wide range of regulatory and compliance matters including sustainability and ESG; climate transition programmes; decarbonisation; environmental risk management; product compliance and safety; carbon pricing/trading; corporate reporting and disclosure; governance and risk management; international trade law; sanctions and export controls. He has worked extensively with clients to develop compliance programmes across a broad range of regulatory and risk areas.

Matt has practised in environmental and climate law for over 26 years and has been recognised as a leading practitioner in his field for many years. He is a regular commentator on new and emerging developments. 

Matt works with major international clients across jurisdictions and in multiple sectors including financial services, energy, industrials, chemicals, technology and many more. 

He is widely recognised as one of Europe’s leading regulatory compliance lawyers.

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Publications: 13 September 2022

European Commission reports on operation of EU FDI screening mechanism

With the EU FDI Regulation close to celebrating its second year anniversary, the European Commission (EC) has published its second annual report on EU FDI screening covering the operation of the…

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Publications: 12 September 2022

Allen & Overy publishes ninth edition of The Business and Human Rights Review

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Publications: 27 July 2022

UK sanctions – prohibitions on new investments and professional and business services

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Publications: 27 July 2022

The National Security and Investment Act 2021: The first market guidance notes

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Experience highlights



Allen & Overy LLP
One Bishops Square
E1 6AD

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Admitted as solicitor, England and Wales, 1996


BA (Hons), University of Birmingham, 1992

Diploma, Law, The College Of Law, York, 1993

Diploma, Legal Practice, The College Of Law, York, 1994

Other noteworthy experience 

  • He is a member of the FLMC’s ESG Working Group, the City of London Law Society’s environmental working group and UKELA, a member of an Advisory Board to the EBRD on ESG guidelines for companies in the CEE region, advising Editor of Environmental Liability journal and a member of the Executive Committee of the Legal Sustainability Alliance.

Pro bono 

  • Ambassador for Hope and Homes for Children
  • Executive member of the Legal Sector Alliance

Published work

  • Co-editor: "REACH - Best Practice Guide to Regulation 1907/2006" (Hart/Beck)
  • Contributor: "Project Finance" by G. Vinter (Sweet & Maxwell)
  • Contributor: "EPC Contracts and Major Projects" by N. Pritchard (Sweet & Maxwell)
  • Matt is a regular speaker and commentator on business compliance issues.


Awards & accolades

Thought Leader Global Elite

Who’s Who Legal 2022 (Environment, Climate Change and Trade & Customs)

Hall of Fame

Legal 500 UK 2022 (Environment)

Band One

Chambers UK 2022 (Environment and Climate Change)

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