Areas of Expertise
Matthew specialises in construction dispute resolution. He is described in the Legal 500 as an “exceptional lawyer”, “a real fighter” and “someone you want in the trenches with you”. Clients also know Matthew for being responsive and delivering decisive, practical and comprehensive advice.
Matthew acts for all groups in the domestic and international construction industry including developers, housing associations, public bodies, contractors, sub-contractors and construction professionals. He represents parties in mediation, adjudication, arbitration, expert determination and litigation proceedings and has experience of acting as advocate at meetings before adjudicators.
Matthew has acted on some of the highest profile and highest value cases involving the design and construction of new build and refurbishment projects in the social housing sector. He also undertakes substantial work in the private sector acting on behalf of specialist sub-contractors and construction professionals.
Matthew started his career at Mott MacDonald consulting clients on major projects across a range of industry sectors.
This included a four year secondment to a nuclear licensed site in relation to a major capital works programme (new build and decommissioning) and a 12 month secondment to a city council in the Republic of Ireland where Matthew managed final account arbitration proceedings in relation to a main drainage scheme.
In addition, Matthew reviewed consultancy agreements for professional services and advised the quantity surveying, project management and engineering divisions of Mott MacDonald on claims for additional fees.
Matthew is the author of two chapters in the Architect’s Legal Handbook (10th Edition): Chapter 21 – Contractor and sub-contractor collateral warranties and third party rights; and Chapter 31 – Architects’ collateral warranties.
Matthew is the author of papers on delay published by the Construction Law Journal ((2014) 30(1) Cons. Law 41-56)) and the Society of Construction Law (Paper No.182) cited in Keating on Construction Contracts (10th and 11th Editions), Hudson’s Building and Engineering Contracts (13th Edition) and Bailey (2nd and 3rd Editions).
Matthew also maintains a guidance note on Delay to Construction Contracts published by Practical Law (No. 1-595-4752) and a guidance note on the professional conduct of expert witnesses published by Isurv.
Building remediation: sizing up the Responsible Actors Scheme – Construction News, 08/08/2023
Matthew is recommended in The Legal 500 directory.
Matthew is very experienced in delivering seminars and lectures on construction law.
Matthew has delivered talks to members of the Society of Construction Law at the National Liberal Club in London as well as to regional branches of the society in Kent, Bristol, the South-West, the North-West and the North-East.
Matthew has also delivered numerous talks to members of the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors and the Chartered Institute of Building.
Matthew regularly speaks at seminars and conferences hosted by Devonshires on all aspects of contentious construction law with a particular emphasis on time, money, defects and fire safety.
Matthew graduated from the University of Bristol with a Master’s degree in Law. He successfully undertook his Bar exams before dual-qualifying as a solicitor and successfully completing an MSc in Construction Law & Dispute Resolution at King’s College (as part of which he studied construction technology).
Matthew has won prizes for his research and innovative writing on extensions of time and concurrent delay including the Hudson Prize 2012 (First Prize) of the Society of Construction Law and the Master Thesis Prize 2013 (First Prize) of the European Society of Construction Law (ESCL). The ESCL Jury Report described his work as “very well executed…with intelligent analysis.”
Matthew is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He is a member of the Society of Construction Law, the Adjudication Society and the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple.
‘Matthew Cocklin has it all: great academic knowledge of the law, experienced across multiple sectors of the construction industry, immensely commercial, and a real fighter, but someone who offers practical solutions to problems. I always recommend him to people who ask for a construction lawyer.’
‘Matthew Cocklin is always well briefed and prepared for any discussion or meeting. I have found him to be receptive and effective in discussing and setting strategies for some complex issues.’
'Matthew Cocklin is always well briefed and prepared…I have found him to be receptive and effective in discussing and setting strategies for some complex issues.'
'Matthew Cocklin is a star. He is intelligent, commercial, committed, knowledgeable and, to top it off, very easy to work with.'
'Matthew Cocklin is an exceptional lawyer, highly cerebral, but also very commercially savvy – he gives sharp, practical advice and works extremely hard. He is a real fighter on behalf of his clients – someone you want in the trenches with you.'
'Matthew Cocklin…is noted for his work on fire safety and cladding in high rise buildings.'
'Matthew Cocklin produces ‘outstanding’ work and is known for his expertise in relation to the fire safety of rain-screen cladding systems on high rise buildings.'
'Mathew Cocklin… worked incredibly effectively to tight deadlines producing work of an outstanding standard.'
'Mathew Cocklin…provides ‘a good and responsive service on latent defect matters’; he is also a specialist in extensions of time and delay.'
Acting in proceedings in the Technology and Construction Court on behalf of a housing association in the defence of a contractor’s claim for extensions of time and loss and expense and the repayment of liquidated damages in a case which was previously unsuccessfully pursued by the contractor in adjudication.
Defending a dry-lining subcontractor in the Technology and Construction Court, as part of multi-party legal proceedings commenced by a national developer, in relation to fire safety defects at a 400 property development which was subject to a large fire.
Acting for a claimant housing association in relation to unprecedented construction defects at a scheme, comprised of four blocks of flats, dubbed by the Press as the ‘House of Horrors’ which was the subject of a multi-party claim against the employer’s agent and professional team.
Acting in a negligence claim against a firm of City solicitors in relation to the flawed commencement of proceedings in the Technology and Construction Court in connection with construction defects at a luxury residential property.
Advising a housing association in relation to a claim for damages against a design and build contractor in relation to three high rise tower blocks clad with ACM cladding including the preparation of a pre-action letter of claim.
Advising a claimant PFI special purpose vehicle in a substantial claim in relation to multiple high rise tower blocks clad with ACM cladding including the commencement of adjudication proceedings against the design and build contractor.
Advising a claimant PFI housing management contractor in relation to potential claims in relation to two high rise tower blocks with combustible facades.
Advising an employer in relation to a various contractual issues and the final account strategy in relation to a substantial housing scheme under the form of the JCT Management Building Contract 2011.
Acting for a construction manager, in 8 successive and successful adjudications, in relation to a claim for additional fees under a JCT Construction Management Contract 2011 in connection with a hotel development.
Defending a façade sub-contractor in an adjudication by a multi-national main contractor in relation to an alleged entitlement to pass down, to the sub-contractor, liquidated damages incurred under the main contract in connection with delays to the completion of façade works to a luxury 50-storey residential tower in London.
Successfully defending an adjudication on behalf of a housing association in relation to a claim by a contractor arising out of the valuation of variations and the assessment of extensions of time and loss and expense under a JCT Design and Build Contract 2011.
Successfully defending an adjudication on behalf of a housing association in relation to a claim by a contractor for the adjustment of preliminaries percentages under a JCT Measured Term Contract 2016.
Defending a façade sub-contractor in an adjudication commenced by a multi-national main contractor in relation to delays to the completion of façade works to a 40-storey commercial development in London.
Advising a tenant housing association that was responsible for the design and construction of a high rise building under an agreement for lease as to the liability of the freeholder to rectify defects and potential claims by the freeholder against the tenant.
Advising a development company in relation to a claim for professional fees in connection with a care home development including the preparation of a pre-action letter of response.
Advising various employer and contractor clients on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operation of construction contracts.
Acting for the successful claimants in Struthers & Anor v Davies (t/a Alastair Davies Building) & Anor  EWHC 333 (TCC) in relation to a claim for damages and consequential losses arising from defective building works to a residential property.