Garden Court Chambers and Garden Court North remember Ian Macdonald QC

Friday 17 February 2023

Garden Court Chambers and Garden Court North were honoured to host a memorial event for Ian Macdonald QC 1939-2019 at Middle Temple Hall on Tuesday 7 February 2023.

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We were delighted to be joined by Ian's family and those from across the legal, academic, and campaigning communities who worked with Ian over his long career at the Bar and beyond. Their personal tributes to the life, accomplishments and legacy of Ian Macdonald were both moving and inspiring.

A video of the speeches and a photo gallery of the memorial event can be viewed below.

View photo gallery

Ian was a giant of the progressive Bar and for decades was Joint Head of Chambers at Garden Court and Head of Chambers at Garden Court North. He was a trailblazer in immigration and human rights law and a pioneer of committed anti-racist legal practice.

Ian was born in Glasgow, studied at Cambridge University and was called to the Bar by Middle Temple in 1963. He joined what was to become Garden Court Chambers in 1974. He became a QC in 1988 and in his later career was made a Bencher of the Middle Temple and was awarded Honours as a Grand Knight of the Order of Liberty (Portugal).

Ian was known for his fearless and outstanding advocacy in highly politically charged trials, such as the Mangrove Nine trial. He was acclaimed for his academic and publishing initiatives in anti-discrimination and immigration law, notably Macdonald’s Immigration Law and Practice, widely credited as "the immigration practitioners’ bible".

A full account of his life and achievements can be found in our tribute to Ian when he passed away alongside the inspirational tribute to Ian written by his close friend and fellow campaigner, Professor Gus John in ‘A Walk Down a Long Road with Ian Macdonald QC’.

In paying tribute to Ian Macdonald at the memorial, Stephanie Harrison KC, Chair and Joint Head of Garden Court Chambers said:

“We recognise that it is his family who suffered the profound loss of a partner, father and grandfather. But we hope that through this event of remembrance and celebration, we remind them, and all of us, that Ian meant so much to so many by living a life guided by principle and passion for justice, as a radical with a spirit of rebellion and mischief. He did right and feared no-one, and moreover, he did that with humour and compassion.”

We would like to express our special thanks to Ian’s partner, Brigid Baillie, and all those who attended the event. We are immensely grateful to all of those who made contributions as speakers:

  • Stephanie Harrison KC, Chair and Joint Head of Garden Court Chambers
  • Ian R Macdonald, Ian’s son and Partner, Greenberg Traurig LLP
  • Cameron Baillie, Ian’s Stepson
  • The Rt. Hon. The Lord Hacking
  • Altheia Jones-Lecointe, Retired Consultant Haematologist & Senior Lecturer at University of the West Indies Medical School & one of the leading voices of the British Black Panther Movement
  • Professor Augustine John, Academic and equality & human rights campaigner
  • Nick Jeffrey, friend and campaigner
  • Leslie Thomas KC, Member and former Joint Head of Garden Court Chambers
  • The Rt. Hon. Lord Carnwath of Notting Hill, Retired Justice of the Supreme Court
  • Sir Nicholas Blake, Retired High Court Judge and former member of Garden Court Chambers
  • Frances Webber, Former member of Garden Court Chambers
  • Pete Weatherby KC, Founding member of Garden Court North Chambers
  • Linton Kwesi Johnson, Poet 

We would also like to thank all those who planned and organised the event at Garden Court Chambers, in particular, Stephanie Harrison KC, David de Menezes, Anousha Khan, Ronan Toal, Sadat Sayeed, David Neale. We would also like to thank Middle Temple for their kind hospitality.

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