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Lord Ken Macdonald QC to deliver Criminal Law Lecture

Hong Kong, 9 December 2019: Former UK Director of Public Prosecutions Lord Ken Macdonald QC has been confirmed as guest speaker for the annual HKU-Boase Cohen & Collins Criminal Law Lecture.

Recognised as one of the country’s leading criminal, regulatory and international lawyers, Lord Macdonald will address an audience comprising senior figures from the legal profession and law students in one of the most eagerly awaited events of the legal and academic calendar.

His talk, on the subject of “Free Speech in Universities”, will take place on Friday 7 February at the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Law. It will be the fourth Criminal Law Lecture jointly organised by HKU and Boase Cohen & Collins since the series was launched in 2017.

“I’m honoured to be invited to deliver the fourth annual HKU-Boase Cohen & Collins Criminal Law Lecture. I’m looking forward to visiting Hong Kong again and addressing law students and the city’s legal profession on a subject which is intended to be both relevant and topical,” said Lord Macdonald.

Confirmation of the 2020 Criminal Law Lecture’s guest speaker was welcomed by Professor Fu Hualing, Dean of the Faculty of Law, who commented: “We are thrilled that one of the UK’s true legal heavyweights will be coming to HKU early next year for this signature event. Lord Ken Macdonald has a stellar reputation throughout the legal profession and his talk is certain to be of immense interest to our students and the wider community.”

A founder member of Matrix Chambers in London, Lord Macdonald has conducted and overseen inquiries and investigations for the UK government, the European Commission and many overseas governments and state authorities. Described by authoritative legal directory Chambers & Partners as a “Senior Statesman of the Criminal Bar” and “premier league … completely fantastic”, he was knighted in 2007 for services to the law and appointed to the House of Lords in 2010.

His core practice areas include business and corporate crime and associated extraditions, money laundering, sanctions and export control violations, market offences, financial regulation, licensing and international commercial and other arbitrations. Aside from governments and state authorities, his recent clients have included heads of state and senior political figures, banks and financial institutions, international media organisations and major corporations.

Lord Macdonald’s experience as Director of Public Prosecutions from 2003 to 2008 – the first prominent defence lawyer to be appointed to the post – has helped give him unrivalled insight into the sensitive issues of criminal risk and associated prosecutorial responses.

Boase Cohen & Collins Senior Partner Colin Cohen commented: “Our vision for the Criminal Law Lecture has always been to bring world class speakers to Hong Kong, galvanise the legal profession and create an event that transcends academia. Having Ken Macdonald come here to speak fulfils all these objectives and more, so we are delighted he has accepted our invitation.”

The inaugural Criminal Law Lecture in 2017 featured Clare Montgomery QC giving a fascinating insight into “Joint Enterprise”, the three-decade-old legal principle that allows someone to be convicted of murder even if they did not strike the fatal blow. In the second lecture, Edward Fitzgerald QC spoke on the topic of “Criminal Appeals and New Evidence” and earlier this year celebrated barrister, author and broadcaster Geoffrey Robertson QC enthralled a large audience with his talk entitled “International Criminal Law: Can it be Enforced?”

Invitations to the 2020 HKU-Boase Cohen & Collins Criminal Law Lecture will be sent to the Judiciary, Department of Justice, Hong Kong Bar Association and the Law Society of Hong Kong. As well, students from the territory’s three law schools – HKU, Chinese University and City University – will be able to register to attend.


Lord Ken Macdonald QC – a “Senior Statesman of the Criminal Bar”.