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‘The clerking team is great. Contact them and immediately somebody will get back to you with a solution.’Chambers and Partners 2014
Alison Macdonald QC

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Alison Macdonald is recommended in the leading directories in five areas: (1) public international law; (2) crime; (3) administrative and public law; (4) civil liberties; and (5) police law (mainly claimant).

Public international law and international arbitration

Alison has extensive international arbitration experience, including both advocacy and advisory work. She is instructed as counsel in a number of ongoing ICSID arbitrations and annulment proceedings, and has advised companies, individuals and governments on arbitration, environmental and trade law matters. Recent advisory work includes advising a foreign State-owned corporation on whether an arbitral award against the State could be enforced against its assets in England, and advising on post-award remedies arising out of an ICSID arbitration. Current work includes acting for Mauritius in an arbitration relating to the UK’s decision to establish a Marine Protected Area around the Chagos Islands, and acting for Bangladesh and its national oil and gas companies in an ICSID dispute in the gas sector.


Alison has appeared in criminal cases at all levels, from the Crown Court to the Supreme Court, Privy Council and Strasbourg. She regularly appears in cases which combine public law, criminal and commercial aspects. Her international criminal work includes corruption, war crimes, aggression, issues of state immunity and jurisdiction. She has a particular interest in issues of extraterritorial jurisdiction and state immunity, and is a contributor to the latest edition of State Immunity (Hazel Fox QC and Philippa Webb, 2013). She is expert at electronic case management and the preparation of large and complex cases. Recent and ongoing criminal work includes: advising on international law and mutual assistance matters in a Jersey money-laundering case; advising a multinational company charged with corruption; advising individuals in connection with the Icelandic investigation into the financial collapse; advising the CPS on the duties owed to victims of crime; advising solicitors’ firms on the scope of legal professional privilege in the context of SFO investigations into their clients, and representing Liechtenstein companies charged with money laundering on behalf of the Abacha family. In 2012, Alison was appointed to the CPS Advocate Panel at Level 3.

Public law and human rights

Alison has a broad public law and human rights practice. She has particular expertise in public law issues arising out of the criminal justice system, and cases with an international law dimension. She acts for individuals, NGOs, commercial organisations and governments. As well as her judicial review work, Alison is regularly instructed in Strasbourg applications, damages claims against the police, prison service and other State agencies, and inquests into controversial deaths.

Media and sport

Alison has acted in a number of media and sports law-related matters, including: representing West Ham United in FA/FAPL arbitrations brought by Fulham FC and the players of Sheffield United arising out of the Carlos Tevez affair; advising the FA on a legal challenge to the BBC’s decision to broadcast a Panorama documentary criticising FIFA on the eve of FIFA’s decision on the England 2018 World Cup bid; representing Boy George in his judicial review challenge to the refusal of the Probation Service to allow him to appear on Celebrity Big Brother; advising on alleged fraud in the context of football transfers; and advising journalists on police conduct in public order situations.

Alison accepts instructions under the Bar Council Standard Contractual Terms, details of which can be found here.

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