Murdo MacLeod QC specialises in corporate financial, health and safety, and environmental prosecutions, where he is regularly instructed both for trials and in an advisory capacity. Companies he has represented and advised include: Airbus, CHC Helicopters, Collyer Bristow, Dandara Homes, Eurocopter, Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors, Freshcatch, HC One, Kalyx, Klondyke, North British Distillery, J. Murphy and sons, Premier Oil, Shetland Catch, Siemens, Sodexo and Taqa Bratani. He has also been instructed by numerous organisations, including: The Crown Office, the Prison Service and various police forces and local authorities.

Alongside his regulatory practice, he has appeared in significant public and fatal accident inquiries, such as: the Superpuma Inquiry (for Eurocopter), the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry (for Siemens), the Queensferry Crossing Inquiry (for Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors) and, between 2005 and 2010, the ‘Billy Wright’ Inquiry, in which he served as Counsel to the inquiry and was vetted to the highest level (‘DV’). He is currently instructed in the ongoing investigation into the Sumburgh helicopter crash.

In the field of criminal law, in 2015 he successfully defended Andy Coulson in his trial for perjury and Yousif Badri, a student charged with terrorism offences. Other recent acquittals include the owner of an equestrian centre charged with indecent assault, a developer charged with property misdescription, a stockbroker charged with domestic assault and a solicitor charged with fraud. As junior counsel to Richard Keen QC, he represented the second accused (Lamin Fhimah) in the Lockerbie/Pan-Am bombing trial. He has also prosecuted, having served as Crown Counsel and Senior Crown Counsel. Prior to admission to the Scottish Bar, Murdo was a solicitor with the Crown Office and in private practice.



Health and Safety – Listed as a Leader of the Bar (Silk: Band 1)

“Very professional, diligent and dedicated.” “A genuine expert in his area who can always be relied on for clear, quality advice and a comprehensive strategy.” [2019]
“An expert silk with extensive experience, regularly instructed for corporate entities in high profile health and safety prosecutions and inquiries” [2018]
“His strengths are his ability to communicate with the Bench and how well he works in a team.” [2017]
“He is really quite superb on his feet.” [2016]
“Very personable and approachable.” [2016]
“He has as a very well-regarded health and safety practice that encompasses prosecutions, Fatal Accident and Public Inquiries.” [2015]
“Very user-friendly and very good on his feet.” [2015]


1994: Admitted to Faculty of Advocates
1998: Appointed Ad hoc Crown Counsel
1999 – 2001: Junior Counsel for second accused in Lockerbie trial
2001 – 2003: Appointed Crown Counsel
2004 – 2005: Appointed Senior Crown Counsel
2005 – 2010: Appointed Counsel to Billy Wright Inquiry
2008: Appointed Queen’s Counsel
2011: Called to Bar of England and Wales (Middle Temple)
2011: Appointed Special Counsel
2011: Appointed Part-time Sheriff
2012: Appointed UK delegate to CCBE Criminal Law Committee
2013: Appointed to the Criminal Court Rules Council


  • June 2018: Compass Chambers Glasgow conference. The roof, the whole roof and nothing but the roof. The prosecution of property misdescription
  • June 2017: CLT Health and Safety Conference, Murrayfield, Edinburgh: Aspects of sentencing
  • June, 2016: CLT Health and Safety seminar, Glasgow. Public and fatal inquiries: a common approach
  • November, 2015: Compass chambers annual conference, Edinburgh. Public Inquiries: a new landscape?
  • October, 2015: Judicial Institute for Scotland, seminar on cybercrime and data protection. Terrorist legislation: a personal view
  • August, 2014: Seminar for Chinese prosecutors, Edinburgh. The detention and questioning of suspects in Scotland
  • May, 2014: Four Jurisdictions Conference, Belfast. Public inquiries
  • April, 2014: Scottish Medico-legal Society (SMLS), Glasgow. The murder of Billy Wright
  • April 2014: Society of Advocates, Aberdeen: Update on Inquiry law and Practice
  • April 2013: Law Society of Ireland, Dublin: The war on terror and the ICC
  • February, 2013: UK Association of European Lawyers (UKAEL) conference on EU law, Edinburgh. A leap in the dark? The risks of opting out of EU criminal justice


LLB (Hons)
Dip Legal Practice
Dip Trial Advocacy

Professional Memberships

Health and Safety Lawyers’ Association
Criminal Bar Association

Queensferry Crossing Inquiry

Representing construction consortium in Inquiry into workplace fatality during the building of the new Forth bridge.

Edinburgh Tram Inquiry

Representing consortium partner (Siemens plc) in Public Inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005.

Sumburgh Helicopter Inquiry

Representing helicopter operator in forthcoming proceedings following the deaths of 4 passengers in North Sea helicopter accident.

‘JP’ Inquiry

Represented Local Authority in Inquiry into death of care provider.

Super Puma Inquiry

Represented aircraft manufacturer (Airbus) in Inquiry into the deaths of 16 passengers and crew in North Sea helicopter accident.

Re Billy Wright Inquiry

Counsel to the Inquiry in major Public Inquiry (the first under the Inquiries Act 2005) into the murder of a prominent paramilitary prisoner and the management of the prison. Vetted to highest level (DV).

H v M

Defending construction company in Health and Safety prosecution following major gas leak.

G v NJ

Defending Health and Safety advisers in commercial action by company for recovery of fine following conviction for H&S regulatory offence.


Defending UK’s largest care home provider in forthcoming Health and Safety prosecution involving death of resident.


Defending company charged with Health and Safety offences re treatment and monitoring of legionella bacteria.


Defending director of waste company in prosecution under the Environmental Protection Act.

HMA v D Ltd

Defended building company facing prosecution in landmark series of cases under the Property Misdescriptions Act.

HMA v Siemens

Defended multinational company in HSE case involving workplace fatality at windfarm.


Represented export company in appeal against HMRC decision on customs warehousing facility.

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