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Lord Ken Macdonald QC

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Lord Macdonald is an associate member of Matrix.

‘A Senior Statesman of the Criminal Bar…a masterful tactician.’

‘Possessing terrific gravitas…he is premier league…completely fantastic’.

‘One of the safest pairs of hands at the Bar- he has supreme judgement, a super-fast analytical mind and real ethical rigour. He deals robustly with difficult issues and clients, and is enormously user-friendly.’

‘Gives sound advice and uses his knowledge and connections to navigate sensitive issues…listened to by prosecutors.’

Chambers & Partners Directory


Former Director of Public Prosecutions Ken Macdonald is one of the country’s leading criminal and regulatory lawyers, with a first rank advisory, trial and appellate practice. He has conducted and overseen inquiries and investigations for the UK government, the European Commission and many overseas governments and State authorities. Described in Chambers & Partners 2018 as a ‘Senior Statesman’ of the Criminal Bar, in 2007 he was knighted for services to the law.

Particularly well known for his ability to confront complex issues of detail with concision and clarity, his specialisms include business and corporate crime and associated extraditions, money laundering, sanctions and export control violations, market offences and financial regulation. Aside from governments and State authorities, his recent clients have included banks and financial institutions, international media organisations, major corporations in all sectors, private family offices and many individuals both at home and abroad.

As a former Director of Public Prosecutions (and the first prominent defence lawyer to have been appointed to that post), he has unrivalled insight into sensitive issues of criminal risk and associated prosecutorial responses. He is very familiar with the workings of prosecution agencies at home and abroad, and uniquely placed to intercede where necessary with prosecutors and to advise on robust responses to allegations of crime, however and wherever they occur.

He is a member of the East Caribbean Bar and is regularly admitted to the Hong Kong Bar to conduct cases in that jurisdiction.

He was a Visiting Professor of Law at the London School of Economics from 2009-2012, and he has been a member of the University of Oxford Law Faculty since 2012.

He is Warden of Wadham College, Oxford.

A founder member of Matrix Chambers, Ken Macdonald was appointed a Recorder of the Crown Court in 2001, and a Deputy High Court Judge in 2010. He was elected Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association of England and Wales in 2003, and became a Bencher of the Inner Temple in 2004. He was Director of Public Prosecutions, 2003-2008, and has been a member of the House of Lords since July 2010.

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


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