Murdo Macleod KC

Year of Call 1994 Year of Silk 2008

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

"He provides clear, concise advice and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the law." "Takes a calm and practical approach." "A team player who puts everyone at ease." - Chambers UK, 2023 


Murdo Macleod KC  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


Sheku Bayoh Public Inquiry: 2021-2022: Representing senior police officer in Inquiry into fatal restraint and surrounding circumstances

Scottish Hospitals Public Inquiry: 2020-2022: Representing architects in Public Inquiry into delay, and design issues, in two major hospitals projects

Scottish Covid Public Inquiry: 2021-2022: Representing Care Inspectorate

Undercover Policing Public Inquiry: 2022: Representing senior police officer

Edinburgh Tram Public Inquiry, 2016-2022: Representing consortium partner 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 Fatal Accident Inquiry, 2022: Representing hotel-group head of health and safety in inquiry following fatal fire in luxury hotel

M9 Inquiry Fatal Accident, 2022: Representing Police Scotland in forthcoming inquiry into fatalities following missed 999 call

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

Super Puma Fatal Accdeint Inquiry, 2013-2014: Represented aircraft manufacturer in inquiry into the deaths of sixteen passengers and crew in North Sea helicopter accident

AM Fatal Accdeint Inquiry, 2018-2019: Represented Prison Service in Inquiry into death following restraint

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


Health and Safety/Regulatory

HMA v D, 2022: Representing hotel group in case involving legionella-related fatality 

HMA v L, 2022: Representing health board in fatal HSWA case

HMA v AG, 2021-2022: 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 BP, 2021-2022: Representing oil company in fatal HSWA case

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

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, 2011-2013: 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 Whyte, Withey etc, 2013-2015: Represented major law firm during investigatory stages of prosecution following purchase of Rangers Football Club

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.


White Collar crime

PF v CM, 2022: Defended police officer charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice

HMA v AA, 2022: Defended hospital consulatant charged with assault and domestic abuse

PF v CB, 2019: Defended entrepreneur chared with assault

PF v GB, 2020: Defended lottery winner in assault case

HMA v MF, 2019: Defended haulier charged with S.1 RTA offence

HMA v PV, 2019: Defended professional tennis player charged with rape

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