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Introducing - Ian Macdonaldback to overview

Ian MacdonaldIan joined Kings Court Chambers in 2012, bringing with him a vast knowledge of UK Immigration Law. Ian was called to the Bar in 1963 and became a QC in 1988.
Ian’s experience in Immigration Law, has seen him instructed in many of the well-known anti-deportation campaign cases and he has been counsel, both as junior & silk, in numerous reported Immigration cases from Immigration Appeal Tribunal level up to the House of Lords. He has also been to Strasbourg and to the European Court in Luxembourg.

Across the whole field of Immigration Law, Ian’s practice continues to offer expert advice and provide representation across a number of Immigration cases that have been referred to court. He provides practical advice and guidance to a number of football clubs, sporting institutions and professional staff that are based overseas.

In 1998 Ian was appointed by the Attorney General as a special ambassador representing the Immigration Appeals Commission, which deals with national security cases and worked in that capacity in both pre and post 9/11 appeals.

Law Specialisms

  • Immigration and Race Relation Law

Qualifications and Accreditations

  • Immigration Law Practitioners' Association (President since 1984)
  • Administrative Law Bar Association
  • Bar European Group
  • Criminal Bar Association

Notable Legal Cases

  • Acting for Liberty (intervener) in RB (Algeria) & Anor v Secretary of State for the Home Department : OO (Jordan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2009] UKHL 10 (HoL case in December 2008 on memoranda of understanding re alleged terrorists - Algerian (linked Abu Qatada case)
  • Acted for Sultan of Pahang in SS and Others (Sovereign immunity claim - Certificate conclusive) Malaysia [2009] UKAIT 00007 to decide whether the Sultan's security and domestic staff were exempt from Immigration control by reason of sovereign immunity (appeal ongoing).
  • Leading counsel in Immigration Judicial Review alleging discrimination against Iraqi males within a certain age band in imposing the need to obtain entry clearance (Case settled 2009).
  • Leading counsel in OO v Secretary of State for the Home Department[2008] EWCA Civ 747; [2008] Imm AR 747 which overruled an earlier line of AIT decisions on consequences of students failing an exam or changing their courses. > judgment
  • Leading counsel in Abdi and Others v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2008] EWHC 3166 Admin (unlawful detention policy for foreign criminals on release from their prison sentence) > judgment .
  • Counsel for Appellant where Secretary of State for the Home Department tried to use Memorandum of Understanding with China in a non-terrorist context (possible death penalty for corruption (settled in 2008 after protracted appeal and JR proceedings).


  • Immigration and Race Relations for Butterworths (1969)
  • Resale Price Maintenance (1964)
  • The Land Commission Act 1967 (co-author)
  • Race Relations and Immigration Law (1969)
  • Race Relations: The New Law (1977)
  • Macdonald's Immigration Law and Practice (6th ed, due 2005) with Francis Webber and other members of the immigration team in Chambers; Supplement to the 6th edition on (2006) with Ronan Toal
  • The New Nationality Law with Nicholas Blake (1984); former consultant editor Butterworth's Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents; and Nationality and Immigration

Ian has written numerous articles on (inter alia) immigration, counter terrorism, race and employment law for New Law Journal, IDS Brief Supplements, Oxford Economic Law Review, Race & Class Today, the national media, Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law and for journals in Canada and  the United States. Ian is on the editorial board of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law.


“His elevation to Senior Statesman status is in recognition of his long-standing contribution to the field of immigration law.”
Chambers & Partners 2013.

“Highly admired by peers and clients alike.”
Legal 500 2011 (Immigration leading silks – band 2).

“One of the practice’s true veterans”
Chambers & Partners 2010.

“His personal approach is valued by sources, ...his ‘affable, outside the box style endears him to peers and clients alike’.”
Chambers & Partners 2009.

“Sources recognise him for his work on the overlap between crime and immigration...”
Chambers & Partners 2008.

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