Ken Macdonald QC has practised at the Bar since 1978.

A founder member of Matrix Chambers, he was appointed a Recorder of the Crown Court in 2001 and elected Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association in 2003. Later that year he became Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the first prominent defence lawyer to have been appointed to that post.

As DPP, he established the Counter Terrorism Division, the Organised Crime Division, the Special Crime Division and the Fraud Prosecution Service. He played a major role across Whitehall in the development of criminal justice policy, especially in relation to international treaties and jurisdictional issues, mutual legal assistance, extradition, terrorism and grave cross border crime.

Completing his term as DPP in 2008, he became a trustee of Index on Censorship, the leading free expression advocacy group, and was appointed Chair of Reprieve, the anti-death penalty organisation, in succession to Lord Bingham of Cornhill. He was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in 2010, and became a member of the House of Lords in the same year.

His practice ranges from business and corporate crime and associated extraditions, to financial regulatory work, sanctions busting, terrorism and espionage. His clients have included international media organisations, prominent banks, major corporations, and many private individuals.

He was a Visiting Professor of Law at the London School of Economics 2009-2012.

In 2012 he became Warden of Wadham College, Oxford. 

Research projects