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Ken Macdonald

Lord Macdonald of River Glaven Kt QC became Warden of Wadham College in 2012.

  • Lord Macdonald of River Glaven Kt QC

    Lord Macdonald of River Glaven Kt QC

Lord Macdonald of River Glaven Kt QC, Warden of Wadham College

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Lord Macdonald of River Glaven Kt QC became Warden of Wadham College in 2012. As Head of College, Ken Macdonald chairs its Governing Body and oversees Wadham’s progress and development. His aims include strengthening our international reputation for world class scholarship and research; making Wadham a beacon for fair access by attracting the brightest young people from the widest variety of backgrounds; and building a graduate student community of the highest calibre with increasing numbers of funded places so that we may recruit the very best, regardless of means.

Prior to arriving at Wadham, Ken Macdonald had practised at the Bar since 1978. 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. Later that year he became Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the first prominent defence lawyer to have been appointed to that post.

As DPP, he established the Counter Terrorism Division, the Organised Crime Division, the Special Crime Division and the Fraud Prosecution Service. He played a major role across Whitehall in the development of criminal justice policy, especially in relation to international treaties and jurisdictional issues, mutual legal assistance, extradition, terrorism and grave cross border crime.

He became a Bencher of the Inner Temple in 2004, and he was knighted for services to the law in 2007.

Completing his term as DPP in 2008, he returned to private practice, becoming a trustee of Index on Censorship, the leading free expression advocacy group, and succeeding Lord Bingham of Cornhill as Chair of Reprieve, the anti-death penalty organisation.

He became a Deputy High Court Judge in 2010, and he was appointed to the House of Lords in the same year.

Over the years, his practice has ranged from business and corporate crime and associated extraditions, to financial regulation work, sanctions busting, terrorism and espionage. His clients have included international media organisations, prominent British banks, major foreign corporations, overseas governments and many private individuals. He has a special interest in emerging international criminal liabilities.

He was a Visiting Professor of Law at the London School of Economics from 2009-2013 and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford. He became an Honorary Fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford in 2011. In 2015, he became Chair of the Council of the Orwell Prize.

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