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"Inventive intellectually and tactically superb, Martin goes that extra mile and is a go-to KC for any complex construction disputes." "He is among the most imaginative barristers I have dealt with when approaching a problem - he will think about it in a different way to unlock the issues."
Chambers UK Bar
“Inventive intellectually and tactically superb” Martin Bowdery KC practises as an advocate, arbitrator, mediator and adjudicator in construction and engineering disputes, including geotechnical, and has been involved in many high-profile cases in this sector. Clients comment he is “at the top of his game: he wants to win his cases and he does so” (The Legal 500). In recent years he has appeared principally in the High Court, the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and before various international arbitral tribunals. He has had numerous appointments as arbitrator or adjudicator. He sits as a Deputy High Court Judge of the Technology and Construction Court.
Martin’s principal areas of expertise are complex disputes arising out of major capital projects. He has advised upon all major forms of infrastructure, transport and engineering contracts. He acts for and against all parties to the construction process, including foreign and domestic government departments, owners, employers, architects, engineers, surveyors, project managers, contractors, sub-contractors and insurers.
Martin has been recognised for many years by the legal directories, Chambers and Partners and The Legal 500, as a leading silk in the fields of construction and professional negligence. Clients comment that he is “tenacious and inventive” (The Legal 500) and “He is among the most imaginative barristers I have dealt with when approaching a problem – he will think about it in a different way to unlock the issues” (Chambers and Partners).
“Martin is a go-to KC for any complex construction disputes” Construction, Chambers and Partners 2021
In recent years Martin’s practice has mainly been concerned with international commercial arbitration acting for overseas commercial clients and governments in a series of ICC arbitrations or other international arbitrations where the claims have been in excess of $400 million. His role has been as lead advocate acting with the assistance of teams of foreign and/or English lawyers. These disputes involved complex engineering, including geotechnical aspects, insurance and financial issues requiring large numbers of expert witnesses based in many different jurisdictions.
As part of his general domestic practice in recent years, he has advised upon all forms of standard form contracts and has drafted various engineering and construction contracts. He has also been asked to advise in respect of substantial procurement and PFI contracts, and has been instructed in respect of numerous TCC trials, adjudications and arbitrations, and various applications to enforce or to resist the enforcement of adjudication decisions and arbitration awards.
“One of the most imaginative barristers I’ve come across – sees things from angles other people don’t and which other people have missed.” Construction, The Legal 500 2021
Martin has broad experience representing domestic and international contractors on disputes arising out of the development and exploration of oil and gas fields all over the world, and the design and construction of power stations. His recent cases include:
“An excellent and very astute lawyer, and a subtle and effective operator in court.” “A great legal mind and great on his feet too.” Construction, Chambers UK Bar and Global 2020
Martin’s practice also encompasses a substantial number of computer and IT related disputes. He has advised in respect of, and settled, contracts for the installation of new computer systems as well as preparing and drafting final settlement agreements in respect of disputes involving under-performing computer systems. In recent years he has been instructed in the following matters:
“Tenacious and inventive” The Legal 500 2021
Martin has experience acting for or against a wide range of professionals including engineers, architects, surveyors, accountants, solicitors and financial services advisers in numerous multi-million-pound professional negligence actions.
Recent cases include:
“An excellent strategist and extremely adroit at handling tribunals.” Construction, The Legal 500 2020
“A silk who takes into account the commercial reality of disputes, is good with clients and is prepared to argue a client’s case sensibly.” Construction, Chambers UK Bar and Global 2020
Martin has been appointed by the Chairman of the Bar and the President of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors to sit on tribunals, and to act as adjudicator and arbitrator in respect of major construction and engineering disputes. He is a Fellow of the Dispute Board Federation. In 2018 he was elected a full (Arbitrator) Member of The Society of Construction Arbitrators and in 2021 he was appointed to ADGM Arbitration Centre’s Panel of Arbitrators.
Examples of cases
Mallino Development Ltd v Essex Demolition Contractors Ltd  EWHC 1418 (TCC)
J Wanstall & Sons v Fridays Ltd  EWHC 2759 (TCC)
Toppan Holdings Ltd and Abbey Healthcare (Mill Hil) Ltd v Simply Construct (UK) Ltd  EWHC 2110 (TCC)
Rotamead Ltd v Durston Scaffolding Ltd & Ors  EWHC 2738 (TCC)
Philip Freeborn, Christina Goldie v Daniel Robert De Almeida Marcal (Trading as Dan Marcal Architects)  EWHC 454 (TCC)
Burgess & Anor v Lejonvarn  EWHC 3166 (TCC)
Southern Gas Networks PLC v Thames Water Ltd  EWHC 1669 (TCC)
Hirst & Anor v Dunbar & Ors  EWHC 41 (TCC)
Boxwood Leisure Limited -v- (1) Gleeson Construction Services Limited (2) M J Gleeson Group Limited  EWHC 947 (TCC)
Blackpool Borough Council v Volkerfitzpatrick Ltd and Range Roofing and Cladding Ltd & Ors  EWHC 387 (TCC)
Stelio Stefanou v A Culmer Fixing Service Limited  EWHC 2208 (TCC)
Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd v Merit Merrell Technology Ltd (Costs)  EWHC 2299 (TCC)
Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd v Merit Merrell Technology Ltd  EWHC 1763 (TCC)
Hastings Borough Council v Manolete Partners PLC  UKSC 50
Amey LG Limited v Cumbria County Council  EWHC 2856 (TCC)
Ampleforth Abbey Trust v Turner & Townsend Project Management Limited  TCLR 8
PHI Group Limited v Robert West Consultancy Limited C.A.  BLR 329
Whessoe Oil & Gas Limited v William John Dale  PNLR 33
Vision Homes Limited v Lancsville Construction Limited  BLR 525
Galliford Try Infrastructure Ltd v Mott MacDonald  120 ConLR 1
Haden Young Ltd v Laing O’Rourke Midlands Ltd  ABC LR 05
Multiplex Construction (UK) Ltd v Honeywell Control Systems Ltd  BLR 195
Multiplex Construction (UK) Ltd v Honeywell Control Systems Ltd  BLR 167
Associated British Ports v Hydro Soil Services  All ER (D) 269
(1) Taylor Woodrow Holdings Limited (2) George Wimpey Southern Counties Ltd v Barnes & Elliott Ltd  BLR 377
Baker & Davies PLC v Leslie Wilks Associates  3 AER 603
Jarvis Facilities Ltd v Alston Signalling Ltd  95 Con LR 55
Cameroon Airlines v Transnet Ltd  EWHC 1829 (Comm)
2023 Member of Adjudication Society
2021 ADGM Arbitration Centre’s Panel of Arbitrators
2020 Accredited TECBAR adjudicator, arbitrator, and DRB member
2020 Governing Bencher of Inner Temple
2018 Full (Arbitrator) Member of The Society of Construction Arbitrators
2015 – 2017 Chair of TECBAR
2015 Fellow of the Dispute Board Federation (DBF)
2004 Deputy High Court Judge, Technology and Construction Court
2000 Queen’s Counsel
1980 Called to the Bar (England and Wales) Inner Temple
1978 BA (Oxon) Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Pembroke College, Oxford
Editor: Hudson’s Building and Engineering Contracts 12th Edition
Contributor: Contemporary Issues in Construction Law Volume III
Contributor: Construction Law Handbook published by Thomas Telford Publishing
Editor: International Construction Law Review published by Lloyds of London 1983-87
Martin was Chairman of TECBAR 2015 – 2017. He is a member of COMBAR, the SCL and a Fellow of the Dispute Board Federation. In 2018 he was elected a full (Arbitrator) Member of The Society of Construction Arbitrators.
“Martin provides unbelievably robust advice, which clients love. Not afraid to go into battle for seemingly lost causes and comes out on top. He is the most imaginative barrister and his advocacy is feisty and mischievous.”
Construction, The Legal 500 2024
“Excellent advocacy and tactician in developing a strategy that best fits the clients’ interests and the nature of the case. He has a good way with clients who tend to have confidence in his approach and his advice.”
Professional Negligence, The Legal 500 2024
“Martin Bowdery is considered, wise and utterly on point.”
“He’s incredibly bright and has an ability to pick up the details of a case extremely quickly and get up to speed very quickly. He has a standout intellect and ability to grasp detail.”
Construction, Chambers UK Bar 2024
“He’s really good on merits-based approaches, and he’s incredibly positive and big picture-focused as well.”
“He works with a great deal of determination, skill and tenacity, drawing on years of experience.”
“Martin is very experienced, and this shows in his ability to deal strategically with cases and his clear, technical advocacy.”
Construction, Chambers UK Bar 2023
“Martin is a persuasive advocate with huge gravitas. He is a great creative thinker and has been a go-to Silk when in particular tricky situations that need considered input to achieve the best outcome possible.”
Construction, The Legal 500 2023
“Martin is a very fine advocate, eloquent, forceful & tenacious. He advises decisively and has an excellent way with clients. Approachable yet intellectually rigorous.”
Professional Negligence, The Legal 500 2023
The above are a selection of recent client endorsements from the leading legal directories, both UK and internationally. For a complete list of endorsements, please contact the practice management team at Atkin Chambers.