Murdo Macleod QC

Year of Call 1994 Year of Silk 2008

"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 

"He has a terrific intellect" "A fearless and tenacious cross-examiner." "He is an impressive figure in court." - Legal 500 2019

"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 specialises in criminal law with an emphasis on corporate financial, health and safety and other regulatory prosecutions, 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.

Alongside his regulatory practice, 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, the Billy Wright Inquiry in Northern Ireland (as Counsel to the Inquiry between 2005 and 2010) and the ongoing Scottish Hospitals Inquiry.

Notable acquittals in criminal trials include Andy Coulson in his trial for perjury and Yousif Badri, a Doctor charged with terrorism offences. He has served as Crown Counsel and Senior Crown Counsel and, as junior counsel, represented the second accused, Lamin Fhimah, in the Lockerbie trial in the Netherlands.

He is a practising barrister in England and Wales (Temple Garden Chambers), and sits as a part-time sheriff.


Representative Cases


Re Scottish Hospitals Inquiry: 2020 - Representing core participant in Public Inquiry (under the Inquiries Act 2005) into delay and design issues in two hospitals

Edinburgh Tram Inquiry, 2017-2019: Representing core participant in Public Inquiry (under the Inquiries Act 2005) into delay and over-spend on major construction project

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

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

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

Re Billy Wright 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)

Health and Safety/Regulatory

HMA v Chief Constable: Representing Chief Constable in prosecution arising from missed '999' call.

HMA v AG, 2021: Representing company director in High Court s.2/culpable homicide case

HMA v BP, 2021: Representing oil company in fatal s.2 case

HMA v BN, 2021: Representing construction company in fatal s.2 case

HMA v JMS, 2020: Represented construction company in s.2 case involving major gas leak

HMA v H, 2019: Represented care-home provider in s.3 prosecution following death of resident

HMA v NBD, 2017-2018: Represented Distillery charged with various s.2 and 3 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 H&S s.2 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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