barrister, Matrix Chambers; crossbench peer
Ken Macdonald KC has practised at the Bar since 1978 and took silk in 1997. 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. He served as Director of Public Prosecutions between 2003-2008, the first prominent defence lawyer to have been appointed to that post, and he was knighted for services to the law in 2007. In 2010, he was appointed to the House of Lords, where he sits as a Crossbencher. He is a former Visiting Professor of Law at the London School of Economics, and he was Warden of Wadham College Oxford between 2012-2021.
Currently, he continues to practice in criminal, regulatory and arbitral law from Matrix Chambers. He is a member of the Legal Advisory Board of the Free Speech Union, President of the Howard League for Penal Reform, and Chair of the Orwell Foundation which awards the UK’s premier prizes for journalism and political writing.
A regulator writer and broadcast commentator on legal, security and political affairs, he co-presents Double Jeopardy, the leading law and politics podcast.
Follow Ken on X/Twitter: @doubjeopardypod