Rock joints infilled with sediments can strongly influence the strength of rock mass. As infilled joints often exist under unsaturated condition, this study investigated the influence of matric suction of infill on the overall joint shear strength. A novel technique that allows direct measurement of matric suction of infill using high capacity tensiometers HCTs) during direct shear of infilled joints under constant normal stiffnes (CNS) is described. The CNS apparatus was modified to accommodate the HCT and the procedure is explained in detail. Joint specimens were simulated by gypsum plaster using three-dimensional (3D) printed surface moulds, and filled with kaolin and sand mixture prepared at different water contents. Shear behaviours of both planar infilled joints and rough joints having joint roughness coefficients (JRCs) of 8–10 and 18–20 with the ratios of infill thickness to asperity height (t/a) equal to 0.5 were investigated. Matric suction shows predominantly unimodal behaviour during shearing of both planar and rough joints, which is closely associated with the variation of unloading rate and volumetric changes of the infill material. As expected, two-peak behaviour was observed for the rough joints and both peaks increased with the increase of infill matric suction. The results suggest that the contribution of matric suction of infill on the joint peak normalised shear stress is relatively independent of the joint roughness.