Alan Maclean QC is an accomplished and experienced Silk.  

Alan is equally at home in first instance trials in the Commercial Court, the Chancery Division, international arbitration or the CAT, requiring detailed mastery of complex facts, as he is arguing points of law in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal or the Administrative Court.  He strives always to demonstrate mastery of the essential skills of a 21st century Leading Counsel: firm grasp of legal principle; sound and sober judgment; enthusiasm for hard work; strategic and tactical awareness; skilful cross-examination of lay and expert witnesses and excellent written and oral advocacy.  

Alan has built a notably broad practice, ranging across many aspects of commercial litigation and arbitration. Recently his commercial work has included cases in such fields as energy, banking, sanctions, telecommunications and sports law as well as a number of cases (in the High Court and the CAT) focused on competition law.  

Alan was a member of the Attorney General's Panel until his appointment as Queen’s Counsel (1999 - 2009, A Panel 2006 - 2009).  In Silk, he has applied the experience gained in these roles in regulatory and commercial public law cases, often involving a backdrop of European legislation. 

Alan's practice also involves a significant advisory element.  He endeavours to provide straightforward, dispassionate and realistic advice, whether in writing or in consultation. 

In addition to his work in England and Wales, Alan has appeared as leading Counsel in Gibraltar, the BVI and the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal. He also has experience as an arbitrator.

Alan is ranked in Chambers Global and in various sections of the legal directories as a leading Silk.

Alan is recognised as a leading silk in the latest editions of both the leading legal directories, Chambers UK 2018 and Legal 500 2017, for his expertise in administrative and public law, commercial litigation, energy, international arbitration and professional discipline and regulatory. 




Commercial litigation is at the core of Alan Maclean QC’s practice.  His cases extend across a broad range of fields including civil fraud, company law disputes(especially joint venture/shareholder agreements and unfair prejudice), energy, banking and financial services, telecoms and sanctions, together with attendant conflicts of laws issues and interlocutory remedies (including pre and post judgment freezing orders and anti-suit injunctions).

Alan is ranked in Chambers Global 2017 in Commercial Dispute Resolution.

Alan has acted in many leading commercial cases such as Bilta v Nazir (on attribution of dishonest acts and state of mind of director to a company); Charter v City Index (knowing receipt); Motorola Credit Corp v Uzan (freezing orders) and Rugby Football Union v Viagogo (Norwich Pharmacal). 

Alan's other leading cases include Hamilton v Al Fayed; the Buncefield litigation (the leading modern authority on public nuisance) and Berezovsky v Hine. Most recently Alan:

  • was heavily involved in acting for the Civil Aviation Authority in relation to the collapse of Monarch Airlines;

  • appeared in a Commercial Court case raising interesting jurisdiction issues under Article 7 of the Recast Brussels Regulation (whether an individual resident in London could sue a Swedish defendant in England for a declaration that no binding contract had been made in Sweden in relation to a shareholding in a BVI company);

  • appeared for the successful appellant in the Court of Appeal in a case between two major pharmaceutical companies concerning the rights of Alan's clients to sell a generic pharmaceutical product in Portugal;

  • has advised in two major actions on issues of tracing in the context of claims for proprietary remedies.


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Civil Fraud, Asset Recovery & Injunctive Relief

Alan Maclean QC is an experienced Silk in fraud and asset recovery cases: including trials, appeals and related interlocutory work (including pre and post judgment freezing and other injunctive relief, Norwich Pharmacal applications and Bankers Trust v Shapira orders). 

Alan's leading cases in this field include the Supreme Court case of Bilta v Nazir (ex turpi causa and attribution of knowledge) and the Court of Appeal cases of Charter v City Index (knowing receipt) and Motorola Credit Corp v Uzan (freezing orders). Alan was also instructed in Rugby Football Union v Viagogo (secondary ticket market Norwich Pharmacal relief).

Alan's recent work in this field includes:

  • obtaining a Bankers Trust v Shapira order against Christie's auction house, and others, in respect of valuable chattels brought to England from Greece (Kyriakou v Kyriakou);
  • a Norwich Pharmacal application against a firm of solicitors arising out of hotly contested divorce proceedings;
  • advising as to an overseas sovereign wealth fund's ability to obtain proprietary relief and tracing-based remedies in a claim based on alleged fraudulent and corrupt investment contracts (Libyan Investment Authority v Société Générale).


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Alan Maclean QC has appeared in a number of major international arbitrations, under ICC or LCIA Rules, many of which have involved joint ventures, shareholder agreements and/or company law issues, including issues of BVI and Cyprus company law.  He recently acted in a heavy LCIA international arbitration concerning a Ukraine-based oil and gas infrastructure business.  

Alan's recent or current work includes:

  • an ICC arbitration arising out of the sale and supply of branded merchandise, involving allegations of fraud and misrepresentation. 
  • appearing for the appellant in the Court of Appeal seeking a declaration from the English Court as to the illegality of arbitration proceedings begun by the defendants overseas.


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Alan Maclean QC has extensive experience of telecommunications disputes, both in a litigation and advisory context.   He has recently been heavily involved in advising on complex commercial and contractual issues arising out of a prospective multi-billion merger transaction involving two UK mobile networks.  

Alan's recent work in this field includes:

  • acting for Hutchison 3G Ltd in a Commercial Court action against its rival, EE, concerning deployment of mobile data coverage and capacity; 
  • acting for the claimant in Gibraltar in a case  concerning access to Gibtelecom’s infrastructure, involving issues arising from the EU Framework and Access Directives; and  
  • advising a leading telecoms business seeking to secure enhanced 4G capacity.


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EU & Competition

Since taking Silk Alan Maclean QC has appeared in a number of leading  competition cases. His competition work includes cases in the High Court, the CAT and the CMA.  

In early 2017, Alan led the team for the successful claimant, Agents' Mutual Ltd, in a hard fought trial in the Competition Appeal Tribunal of a case with important ramifications for the valuable online property portal market (Agents Mutual Ltd v Gascoigne Halman Ltd [2017] CAT 15).   An appeal to the Court of Appeal is pending.

Alan's most recent involvement in competition law has been in the context of a ‘follow on’ damages claim arising from the European Commission’s findings in the Trucks Cartel case and an appeal to the CMA brought by electricity generators in relation to an alleged breach of the EU inter-transmission Regulation.

Alan's other notable cases in this field include success in two Chancery Division abuse of dominant position cases: Purple Parking Ltd v Heathrow Airport Ltd (airport parking) and Dahabshiil v Barclays Bank (injunction to protect provision of banking services to international money remittance businesses).   Alan also has recent experience of transport related competition cases (coach services to Stansted and a proposal to de-privatise bus services in Tyne & Wear).

Alan Maclean QC also has a well-established advisory practice in a number of non-competition aspects of EU law, most notably concerning regulation of professions in areas such as mutual recognition of qualification/free movement, consumer protection and pharmaceutical/pharmacy regulation. Alan's clients include the GMC, the GDC and the General Pharmaceutical Council. 

Alan's recent work includes: 

  • advising DEFRA in responding to the European Commission's allegations of breach by the UK of the Habitats Directive;
  • advising a county council on the application of the EU public works procurement regime to various forward funding property transactions;
  • cases concerning drug licensing/pricing and the Drug Tariff;
  • advising on the application of the EU Consumer Rights Directive; and 
  • advising various transport businesses on free movement and labour law issues arising from the ITWF v Viking Line line of authority.


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Public & Regulatory

Alan Maclean QC has extensive public and regulatory law experience. He has appeared in many such cases in the Court of Appeal and the Administrative Court, and in many other Courts and tribunals, including the Court of Justice of the EU, the CMA, the CAT, the Upper Tribunal, the Information Tribunal and various professional disciplinary tribunals (in fields as diverse as licensed conveyancing and speedway racing).

In late 2017 Alan was heavily involved in acting for the Civil Aviation Authority in relation to licensing and regulatory issues arising from the collapse of Monarch Airlines.

Alan's current or recent clients include the Oil and Gas Authority, the CAA, the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority, the Financial Reporting Council, the ICAEW, OFGEM, the GMC, the GDC, the Royal College of Physicians, the Charity Commission and the Independent Police Complaints Commission.  

Recent cases include:

  • advising in a high profile case of allegations of professional misconduct against solicitors arising out of the Al-Sweady Inquiry into the conduct of British soldiers in Iraq; 
  • acting for the claimant charity in a challenge to the implementation by NHS England of NICE’s recommendations on new drug treatments for hepatitis;
  • representing the Charity Commission in the Upper Tier Tribunal in a case concerning the test for standing to appeal against a decision of the Charity Commission;
  • acting for a major catering industry supplier in a case concerning the exercise of statutory powers of the New Covent Garden Market Authority in relation to a major redevelopment; and
  • acting for the Independent Police Complaints Commission in a judicial review of a controversial report on a death in custody. 

Alan Maclean was a member of the Attorney General's panel of counsel for 10 years prior to taking Silk. His Government clients included No 10 Downing Street, the Cabinet Office, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence, HM Treasury (including advising in relation to the Parliamentary Ombudsman's investigation of the regulation of Equitable Life), the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Education. 

Alan has experience in the fields of State and Diplomatic immunity, including the State Immunity Act and the Vienna Convention. 


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Alan has advised and appeared in a number of sanctions-related cases in recent years, including cases involving Libya and Russia. One recent example is his appearance in the Court of Appeal in a case raising important issues arising out of the Libyan Asset Freezing Regulations, including whether payment of a debt would contravene EU Regulation 204/2011 and the Libya (Asset-Freezing) Regulations 2011 (LIA v Maud).


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Alan Maclean QC has recently been involved in a number of sports cases, including:

  • acting for the Rugby Football Union in an appeal concerning the arrangements for the new women's Super Rugby competition;
  • advising a leading FA Premier League club in a case involving media access rights;
  • a case involving another FA Premier League football club and the application of the FA's Owners' and Directors' Test.
  • advising an overseas Rugby Football Union in relation to membership of Rugby Europe 

Alan has also acted in sporting disciplinary cases, most recently before the Motor Sports Council National Court. He has also advised Sport England on funding issues.



Alan Maclean QC has appeared in a number of banking cases, in the Commercial Court and the Chancery Division.  He acted for Barclays Capital in Commercial Court litigation concerning an Event of Default under a Global Master Repurchase Agreement and for a major international bank defending a claim for US$35 million arising out of the performance of a Securities Lending Authorisation Agreement.  

Alan's advisory practice includes the construction and application of guarantees, indemnities, letters of credit, bonds and other financial instruments.


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Data Protection, Freedom of Information & Privacy

Alan Maclean QC was, from its inception, a member of the Attorney General’s Panel of Counsel for freedom of information cases. He has appeared in many cases in the information and privacy field, including:

  •  a case seeking public access to secret documents about UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia;
  • a claim by ‘The Times'  for disclosure of policy papers prepared for the Chancellor's Budget;
  • a case brought by a ‘Guardian’ journalist, which was the first in which the Government litigated the ‘prejudice to public affairs' exemption in the Freedom of Information Act; and
  • a case about the controversial Iraq WMD Dossier.


Inquests & Public Inquiries

Alan Maclean QC has extensive public inquiry experience, having appeared in several high profile inquiries.  In 2003, in the Hutton Inquiry , he was selected to act for Prime Minister Tony Blair, his Chief of Staff, his Communications Director (Alastair Campbell) and the Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee,  among others. Alan went on to advise No 10 Downing Street on other matters. 

In 2012 Alan was Leading Counsel to the Pollard Review into the BBC Newsnight/Jimmy Savile affair. 

Alan's other public inquiry experience includes:  e.g. E.coli O157 (2009); Review into deaths at Deepcut Army Barracks (2007); Zahid Mubarek (2006) and the Bristol Royal Infirmary Inquiry (1999 - 2001).



BA (Hons) First Class (PPE), University College, Oxford;

Kennedy Memorial Scholarship, Harvard University (John F Kennedy School of Government);

Post-Graduate Diploma in Law (with Distinction), City University;

Placed 1st in year at Bar School (1993).

Alan was awarded a Scarman Scholarship for being placed First in his year at Bar School.  Gray’s Inn awarded him a Bacon Scholarship, a Prince of Wales Award, a Macaskie Award, a Karmel Award and the Lee Prize.   As a Bar student, he and a colleague won the International Final of the Observer Mace debating competition.  

Selected earlier cases


  • Forsta AP-Fonden v Bank of New York Mellon
  • Berezovsky v Hine and others (2012)
  • Unaoil Ltd v Amona Ranhill Consortium Sdn Bhd [2012] EWHC 1595 (Comm) 
  • Shell UK Ltd v Total UK Ltd [2011] QB 86 
  • Colour Quest Ltd v Total Downstream UK plc [2009] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 1
  • West London Pipeline and Storage Ltd v Total UK Ltd [2008] 2 CLC 258
  • North Principal Investments Fund Ltd v Greenoak Renewable Energy [2008] All ER (D) 288
  • Merchantbridge & Co Ltd v Safron General Partner I Ltd [2006] All ER (D) 56
  • Deloitte & Touche v Dickson [2005] All ER (D)
  • Redwell Ltd v 1-3 Cuba Street Ltd [2005] All ER (D) 210 (Court of Appeal)
  • Finecroft Limited v Lamane Trading Corporation (2005) (BVI)
  • Motorola v Uzan [2004] 1 WLR 113
  • If P&C v Silversea [2004] Lloyd's Rep IR 696 (CA); [2004] Lloyd's Rep IR 217 (Comm Court)
  • Smith v Bridgend County Borough Council [2002] 1 AC 336
  • Interbrew v Financial Times [2002] 1 Lloyd's Rep 542
  • Hamilton v Al Fayed (No 3) [2001] All ER (D) 181
  • Re Cosslett [1998] Ch 495 (Court of Appeal); [1997] Ch 23 (Chancery Division)

Civil Fraud, Asset Recovery & Injunctive Relief

  • Charter plc v City Index Ltd [2008] 1 Ch 313 (CA); [2007] 1 WLR 26 (Ch Div)
  • Dornoch Ltd v Mauritius Union Assurance Co Ltd [2006] 2 Lloyd's Rep 475 (CA); [2006] Lloyd's Rep IR 127 (Comm Court)
  • Six Continents Hotels Inc v Event Hotels GmbH [2006] All ER (D) 101
  • Reachbyte v Brewin Dolphin (Chancery Division 2006-2007)
  • Siemens v Bumiputra Commerce Bank (Commercial Court 2006)
  • Abu Dhabi Investment Co v H Clarkson & Co Ltd (Commercial Court 2004-2005)


  • Chantiers de L'Atlantique SA v Gaztransport & Technigaz SAS [2011] EWHC 3383 (Comm) 
  • Norsk Hydro ASA v State Property Fund of Ukraine [2009] Bus. L.R. 558 

Public & Regulatory

  • Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Centre v Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority [2013] EWHC 3087 (Admin)
  • R (on the application of Thames Water Utilities Ltd) v Water Services Regulation Authority [2012] EWCA Civ 218; [2012] P.T.S.R. 1147 
  • R (Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust) v Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts [2012] EWCA Civ 472 (CA); [2011] EWHC (Admin) 2986
  • Pharmaceutical Contractors Committee (NI) Ltd, Re Judicial Review [2010] NIQB 3
  • Black & Clements, Re Judicial Review [2009] NIQB 94 
  • R (Higher Burrow Organic Farming Partnership) v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [2008] All ER (D) 230 
  • R (Denfleet International Ltd) v NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency [2005] All ER (D) 252
  • Council for the Regulation of Health Care Professionals v Health Professions Council [2005] All ER (D) 64
  • R v Greater Belfast Coroner ex p Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission [2002] HRLR 35 
  • R (S) v Plymouth City Council [2002] 1 WLR 2583 
  • R v Greater Belfast Coroner ex p Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission [2002] HRLR 35
  • Heather v Leonard Cheshire [2001] All ER (D) 156
  • R v Legal Aid Board ex p Edwin Coe [2000] 1 WLR 1909 
  • R v Gloucestershire CC ex p Barry [1997] AC 584 
  • R v Wandsworth ex p Beckwith [1996] 1 WLR 60 

EU & Competition

  • Dahabshiil Transfer Service Ltd v Barclays Bank Plc [2013] EWHC 3379 (Ch); [2014] UKCLR 215
  • Purple Parking Ltd v Heathrow Airport Ltd [2011] EWHC 987 (Ch); [2011] UKCLR 492 
  • British Telecommunications plc v Office of Communications [2004] All ER (D) 176 (May) (CAT)
  • R v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry ex p BT3G Ltd [2001] EuLR 822
  • R v MAFF ex p Lay and Gage ECR 1997 I 05543


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