Matthew Cowie


Matthew Cowie


London | 160 Queen Victoria Street, London, UK EC4V 4QQ
+44 20 7184 7417 | +44 20 7184 7001


Matthew Cowie has extensive experience advising on fraud and corruption issues including internal investigations and government enforcement matters. Noted as having an "excellent knowledge of the regulatory agencies" (Chambers UK 2016), Mr. Cowie also advises on compliance best practices for UK and multi-national corporates, particularly with regard to anti-corruption and other corporate governance policies and procedures. He has broad industry sector experience, having worked on internal and government investigations in the pharmaceutical; financial institutions; defence; oil & gas; and telecoms sectors.

The Legal 500 UK 2020 recognises Mr. Cowie as a “Leading Individual” for white collar crime and regulatory investigations and corporate crime, commenting that he is a “pleasure to work with and his previous experience with the SFO informs his approach to cases”. Chambers UK 2020 ranks Mr. Cowie for financial crime and highlights his “overall strategic vision in a case.” Chambers UK 2019 notes that Mr. Cowie has expertise in handling both government and internal investigations, with sources commenting that "his SFO background is invaluable in giving him a good grasp of the culture". Chambers UK 2017 comments that Mr. Cowie brings valuable insight to investigations work on behalf of corporate clients. One source says “I think highly of him. I think he has the appropriate balance of getting into the facts as well as the big picture- he has lots to offer”. Mr. Cowie is also listed as a leading individual in Legal 500 UK 2015, 2016 and 2017 for Corporate Crime including, fraud, bribery and corruption, where he is described as "a particularly strong asset" and 'an international expert'. He is also recommended for investigations in Who’s Who Legal 2016 and 2017. Mr. Cowie has also been described as having 'an excellent grasp of the law’ and that he is ‘passionate about his clients’ by The Legal 500 UK 2018 edition.

Prior to joining Dechert, Mr. Cowie served as Counsel in the corporate investigations practice of another international law firm. Before moving to private practice in 2010, he spent 11 years in the Serious Fraud Office where he successfully brought the first two overseas corruption prosecutions of UK corporates whilst working alongside the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Office of Foreign Assets Control. He brought the first significant prosecution of a senior corporate executive on corruption charges within the medical devices industry. He served as the prosecutor in the SFO’s prosecution of Mabey & Johnson Ltd; Innospec Ltd; Johnson & Johnson/De Puy International Ltd. and BAE Systems plc. Additionally, Mr. Cowie supervised the conduct of casework encompassing both sanctions and overseas corruption offences.

During his time at the SFO, Mr. Cowie was seconded to the United Nations Procurement Task Force where he investigated fraud, corruption and mismanagement issues within the United Nations system.

  • University of Sheffield, M.A., 1991
  • University of Warwick, LL.B., with Honors, 1990
  • Barrister, England and Wales
Speaking Engagements
  • Corruptors and Corruptees: the Legal Contours from Criminal Responsibility to Civil Liability - 33 Chancery Lane 2nd Business Crime Conference 2017, London (October 31, 2017)
  • The future of enforcement in the UK: is the SFO now properly equipped to meet the UK's enforcement needs and what should the priorities be for its next Director? - GIR Live London Autumn Conference, London (October 31, 2017)
  • CDR Summer Litigation Symposium 2017 — London (June 29, 2017)
  • Corruption, market-rigging and mis-selling: the dark heart of deals - CDR Autumn Litigation Symposium 2016, London (September 29, 2016)