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Iain Macdonald

Iain’s practice covers the whole range of consumer and regulatory law, both civil and criminal.  His clients include major financial institutions, high street and online retailers and manufacturers and numerous regulatory bodies.

Iain is Chair of the Bar Council’s Law Reform Committee. He has been a member of the Committee since 2009.

Iain offers expertise in all aspects of consumer finance work and the regulation of this area by the FCA.  His work encompasses drafting of regulated agreements, advising on agreements for the purposes of securitisation or acquisition, litigation arising from enforceability issues and unfair relationship claims.  He is very experienced in contesting allegations relating to the mis-selling of financial products, including PPI and investment products. He is an editor of the Encyclopaedia of Financial Services Law (Sweet & Maxwell).

Iain is able to offer a very broad base of knowledge and experience across the full range of regulatory law.  This includes the prosecution and defence of regulatory offences at every level of the criminal court system.  His work in this area has included issues such as unfair commercial practices within the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (including pricing issues and sales practices), food safety and hygiene, health and safety and fire safety and weights and measures issues.

Iain is also vastly experienced in the civil aspects of regulatory law, particularly applications under the Enterprise Act 2002.  In addition to litigation in this area, Iain is regularly involved in the provision of advice on regulatory compliance (such as advice on the drafting of consumer contracts, sales scripts and other marketing issues) and meeting regulatory enforcement action.

Iain is Chair of the Bar Council’s Law Reform Committee.  His work for the Committee involves drafting responses to the plethora of European and domestic proposals for consumer law reform, covering issues such as the Consumer Rights Bill and the transfer of consumer credit regulation from the OFT to the FCA.

For more details of Iain’s areas of work or if you have any specific query relating to his experience, please contact the clerking team in chambers.

Reported cases include the following:

  • R. (on the application of Ltd) v Civil Aviation Authority [2018] EWHC 3364 (Admin): Acting for the CAA in a judicial review claim, the decision in question concerning a public authority’s duty of candour and issues of legal advice privilege;
  • Gahan v Emirates [2018] 1 W.L.R. 2287: Acting for the CAA in its successful application to intervene in the Court of Appeal in a case concerning the application of EC Regulation 261/2004 to the payment of compensation for delayed flights which involved non-EC airlines and delay to a journey involving a departure from a non-EU airport (leading Anna Medvinskaia);
  • Torfaen CBC v. Douglas Willis Limited [2013] UKSC 59: junior counsel for the appellant local authority (led by Jonathan Kirk QC) in its successful appeal to the Supreme Court in a case concerning the application of the law relating to use-by dates on food;
  • Harrison v Link Financial Ltd [2011] E.C.C. 26: acting for the defendant in the Mercantile Court in a claim alleging unenforceability of a credit card agreement;
  • Sternlight & Ors v Barclays Bank plc & Ors [2010] EWHC 1865 (QB); [2010] C.T.L.C. 115: acting for Bank of Scotland in Manchester Mercantile Court, successfully applying for strike out of multiple claims alleging unenforceability of regulated consumer credit agreements due to alleged incorrect statements of interest rates;
  • Black Horse Limited v Speak [2010] EWHC 1866 (QB); [2010] C.T.L.C. 211: acting for the lender in a test case in the Manchester Mercantile Court concerning alleged mis-selling of payment protection insurance;
  • R v. Higgs [2009] 1 W.L.R. 73: acting for the prosecution (Bristol City Council) in the Court of Appeal on an appeal on a point of law following the conviction of a supplier of “modchips” under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 after a two week Crown Court trial;
  • Office of Fair Trading v. Lloyds TSB and others [2007] QB 1 (Court of Appeal); [2008] 1 A.C. 316 (House of Lords):  representing American Express in the High Court, Court of Appeal and the House of Lords opposing the OFT’s application for a declaration that s.75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 applies to credit card transactions overseas;
  • Harlow District Council v. Greene King Plc [2004] 1 W.L.R. 2338: acting for Harlow DC in the Divisional Court in a case concerning the issue of whether a holding company could be a “proprietor” of a food business.

Consistently ranked in Band 1 for leading juniors in consumer law by the Chambers and Partners Directory. Ranked as a leading junior in consumer law, banking and finance and financial services by the Legal 500.  Recent comments include:

“He is diligent, on top of the detail and commercial in his advice, and also an impressive advocate.” “A highly intelligent, thoughtful and extremely able lawyer who always adds value.” “Hugely intelligent; a great advocate.” Legal 500, 2020 (Banking and Finance, Consumer and Financial Services)

“He’s solid, sensible and balanced in dealing with opposing counsel.” “Iain is no-nonsense, straightforward and extraordinarily well-versed in his field.” Chambers and Partners, 2020

“A recognised leader in his field, who provides a first-class service.” Legal 500, 2016 (Banking and Finance)

“Intelligent, pragmatic and willing to think outside the box.” Legal 500, 2016 (Consumer)

“An excellent advocate, who is very calm and thorough; clients like him and he understands their needs” Legal 500, 2015

“He’s very personable and probably the strongest technical lawyer.” “A very good advocate who is always impressive to the clients.” Chambers and Partners 2015

“Highly experienced and highly commercial, he is just who you need when things get tricky … hugely intelligent and highly effective both in court and when dealing with lay clients.Chambers and Partners 2014

“an excellent advocate’ who can ‘turn over a complex case very quickly” Legal 500 2013

  • Co-author of Food Standards Regulation: The New Law (published Jordans, 2000)
  • Regular contributor to journals including TS Today

Iain has been a school governor for the past ten years and is currently Chair of Governors at his second school.  He enjoys running and cricket to a very moderate standard.  He has three children.

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VAT number: 730851446