Murdo Macleod KC

Year of Call 1994 Year of Silk 2008

"A consummate silk whose style is to engage in a calm and measured dialogue with the bench." "Razor sharp, but with a warmth that clients appreciate." "A class act." - Legal 500, 2023

"His easygoing, calm and practical approach wins clients over as much as his clear, concise advice and encyclopedic knowledge of the law." "Despite the fact that he is the leader, he is also a team player and puts everyone at ease."- Chambers UK, 2022 

"A public inquiries specialist." "He is very emphatic in tough situations and does not shy away from having to give difficult advice." - Chambers UK, 2021






Murdo Macleod QC  is a leading practitioner in regulatory crime, where he is instructed for trials and in an advisory capacity.  He is ranked as a "Star Individual" for Health and Safety in the Chambers UK Bar Guide.

He has acted for major clients in the oil & gas, construction, healthcare, rail and aviation sectors. He has also been instructed by numerous organisations, including: Police Scotland, the Scottish Prison Service, the NHS, the Care Inspectorate and various local authorities and health boards. 

He has served as Crown Counsel and Senior Crown Counsel and, as junior counsel, represented the second accused, Lamin Fhimah, in the Pan-Am/Lockerbie bombing trial in the Netherlands. Other notable acquittals include Andy Coulson in his trial for perjury and Yousif Badri, a Doctor charged with terrorism offences. In 2021 he defended the Chief Constable of Police Scotland in a landmark High Court prosecution following a missed '999' call.

He has appeared in many significant statutory public inquiries and fatal accident inquiries, such as: the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry, the Superpuma Inquiry, the Queensferry Crossing Inquiry and the Billy Wright Inquiry in Northern Ireland (as Counsel to the Inquiry between 2005 and 2010). He is currently instructed in the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry, the Undercover Policing Inquiry, the Covid inquiry and the Sheku Bayoh Inquiry.

He has a long-standing interest in public international law and, on the recommendation of the Dean of Faculty, was appointed to the list of approved counsel for the ICTY in 1997 and to the list of approved counsel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague in 2010. He has advised Police Scotland on various aspects of international criminal law.

He is a practising barrister in England and Wales (Temple Garden Chambers), and sits as a part-time sheriff. In 2012 he was appointed UK delegate to the Criminal Law Committee of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE). He is a chair of the Faculty's complaints committee and Presenting Officer for the Fitness for Judicial Office tribunal.

In the field of mediation, Murdo is a qualified IMI  (International Mediation Institute) mediator.


Representative Cases


Undercover Policing Public Inquiry: 2022 - Representing core participant

Scottish Hospitals Public Inquiry: 2020 - Representing core participant in Public Inquiry into delay and design issues in two hospitals

Sheku Bayoh Public Inquiry: 2021 - Representing core participant 

Scottish Covid Public Inquiry: 2021 - Representing party likely to be awarded core participant status

Edinburgh Tram Public Inquiry, 2017-2019: Representing core participant in Public Inquiry into delay and over-spend on major construction project

Billy Wright Public Inquiry, 2005 - 2010: Counsel to the Inquiry in Public inquiry (the first under the Inquiries Act 2005) into alleged state collusion in the murder of a prominent paramilitary prisoner, and the management of the Maze prison. Vetted to highest level (DV)

Cameron House Inquiry, 2022: Inquiry into deaths of two guests following catastrophic fire in luxury hotel

M9 Inquiry, 2022: Representing Police Scotland in forthcoming inquiry into a missed 999 call

Queensferry Crossing Inquiry 2017: Represented bridge-building consortium in inquiry into fatality on new Forth bridge

Super Puma Inquiry, 2013-2014: Represented core participant in inquiry into the deaths of sixteen passengers and crew in North Sea helicopter accident

JP Fatal Accident Inquiry, 2017: Represented local authority in Inquiry into death of care provider


Health and Safety/Regulatory

HMA v AG, 2021: Representing company owner in High Court RTA/culpable homicide case following fatal road traffic accident

HMA v E, 2022: Representing multinational company in HSE/SEPA investigation

HMA v A, 2022: Representing construction company in fatal HSWA case

HMA v Chief Constable, 2019 - 2021: Representing Chief Constable in HSWA prosecution arising from missed '999' call

HMA v BP, 2021: Representing oil company in fatal HSWA case

HMA v BN, 2021: Representing construction company in fatal HSWA case

HMA v JMS, 2020: Represented construction company in HSWA case involving major gas leak

HMA v H, 2019: Represented care-home provider in fatal HSWA prosecution following death of resident

HMA v NBD, 2017-2018: Represented Distillery charged with various HSWA-related legionella-related offences

HMA v DMS Ltd, 2017-2018: Represented director of waste management company in environmental pollution case

HMA v D, 2017-2018:Defended major building company in landmark property misdescription prosecution

Geddes v Johnson, 2017: Defended health and safety advisers in commercial court action

HMA v S, 2015: Defended company in HSWA case involving workplace fatality at windfarm

HMA v Shetland Catch Ltd, Freshcatch Ltd, Klondyke Ltd, 2011-2012: Represented three companies in a series of prosecutions for breaches of EU fishing regulations and proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act

Fraud/business crime

HMA v R, 2017-2018: Represented partner of law firm charged with fraud

HMA v Goldstein, 2018: Represented accused charged with arson and insurance fraud

Re Rangers FC, 2013-2015: Advised City law firm in major financial crime investigation re recovery of documents, execution of warrants and privilege


HMA v Andy Coulson, 2014-2015: Defended former newspaper editor charged with perjury. Numerous pre-trial debates on admissibilty, search warrants, recovery of documents, privilege etc (and successful appeal). The accused was acquitted.

HMA v Yousif Badri, 2015: Defended medical student charged with terrorism offences. The accused was acquitted.

HMA v Megrahi and Fhimah, 1999-2001: junior counsel (to RS Keen QC) for second accused in Lockerbie/Pan-am bombing trial in the Netherlands. Responsibility for various technical aspects of case, including cause and location of explosion. The accused was acquitted.

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