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Neil Macaulay

Excellent with the lay client

Legal 500 (2009)


Neil Macaulay (



Barrister, Lead Counsel & Co-Head of Chambers

  • Direct Access Accredited
  • Completed Bar Standards Board Litigation Course
  • CEDR Accredited Mediator



  • Public International Law & Rule of Law
  • Fraud and Corruption
  • International Employment Law


Practice Areas

  • Rule of Law, IHL and Human Rights
  • Multilateral Development Bank (MDB/IFI) Sanctions Cases
  • Construct of Integrity Compliance Programmes
  • International Mediation
  • Employment Disputes within International Organisations

MDB Sanctions proceedings

Through representation of international development companies facing sanctions proceedings Neil has acquired a thorough understanding of the workings of the Multilateral Development Banks (the MDBs) including the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Neil is an expert in clearly explaining to corporate executives and compliance officers the options and procedures involved in order to optimise the client’s best chances of success in either challenging a Multilateral Development Bank investigation or negotiating a settlement, whichever the situation may require. A strong background practicing in serious fraud over many years gives Neil a real advantage in analysing the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence of any sanctionable practice (such as fraud, corruption, coercion and collusion) facing the company and advise on the potential risk of debarment and cross-debarment. Where necessary he will also advise on the Bribery Act 2010 and money laundering implications under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Gained through many hours of negotiations and meetings with the officers of the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency (INT), African Development Bank Integrity and Anti-Corruption Division (IACD) and Asian Development Bank Office of Anticorruption and Integrity (OAI) Neil has an intimate working knowledge of the personalities and policies that are encountered in this particular field of law.

Where required under a Negotiated Resolution Agreement he will undertake high quality investigation of the company’s books and records to a standard that will meet and even surpass the requirements of the Multilateral Development Banks and enhance the client’s standing within those organisations. Equally Neil has the experience and knowledge of the Multilateral Development Banks’ requirements on compliance processes to produce bespoke integrity compliance programs for companies that may have fallen behind the current best practices in compliance.

Whenever a company suspects it may be subject to investigation by one or more of the Multilateral Development Banks then whenever appropriate Neil will, if so instructed, pro-actively enter confidential dialogue with the anti-corruption offices of the Multilateral Development Banks to the best advantage of the company. Neil has seasoned negotiating skills used to minimise the risks or damage of debarment and referral to national prosecutorial offices such as the United States Department of Justice and the UK Serious Fraud Office. Where necessary he will also advise on the Bribery Act 2010 and money laundering implications under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. In addition to self-referral Neil is also able to advise clients on the benefits of immunity agreements with the Multilateral Development Banks and programmes such as the World Bank’s Voluntary Disclosure Programme.

Neil is direct access qualified and accepts instructions from companies and executives directly or through a solicitors firm should the client so choose.

International Employment Law

Neil has a true understanding of the distress that an employee can feel when subject to mistreatment, bullying or unfair treatment by their managers or colleagues in the workplace together with a comprehensive knowledge of the internal rules and legal principles, including the Human Rights implications, that operate in such situations. Described in the Legal 500 as “excellent with the lay client”, Neil is experienced in dealing with clients working within many different International Organisations, including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a class action at the Inter American Development Bank and the EU Satellite Centre.

Neil has taken cases with a variety of issues in dispute including pay and conditions, taxes, bullying and harassment, unfair and wrongful dismissal, the rights of non-contracted staff members, non-confirmation of probation and misuse of disciplinary proceedings. He also represents staff facing disciplinary proceedings.

Neil has recently presented on the Employment Law of International Civil Servants at the IMF 20th Anniversary of the IMF Administrative Tribunal and has hosted seminars in Washington, Geneva, the Hague and Vienna for the benefit of staff and staff associations wanting to increase their understanding of staff rights and legal developments in this field of law.

In all cases he seeks to ensure the dignity of the employee is respected and advise on the best route to proceed which ordinarily would begin with a determined effort to negotiate a prompt settlement of the matter and in cases where that is not achievable taking the matter through the formal grievance processes.

Neil accepts instructions from staff members internationally through direct access accreditation.


Neil is familiar with providing robust advice at the highest corporate levels and producing policies for institution-wide application on matters such as compliance, due diligence, data protection, disclosure, confidentiality and matters concerning international law and treaties. Neil is experienced at drafting legislation and has worked in producing policies and publications at the highest levels within the Government Legal Service where he represented the Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office (RCPO) in numerous Whitehall Groups. Consequently he has a very thorough knowledge of the consultative processes that need to be engaged in to make policies not simply legal but also workable. Neil is also highly qualified to give specific legal advice on particular problems facing institutions having done so as the Head of the Prosecution Group Legal Secretariat at the RCPO often on matters of acute public importance and at short notice.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Neil Macaulay is a known expert in international organisations law and in particular International Administrative Law (“IAL”), which is the employment law of the international organisations. What is more, Neil is CEDR trained and an accredited mediator who has the ability to broker settlement agreements in the most difficult and challenging of circumstances. Although a school of thought exists that mediators do not need to have expert knowledge or subject matter expertise, it of course assists greatly if they do. This is where Neil has the distinct advantage over so many other mediators, for he does have the necessary International Administrative Law expertise and experience and it is this skill-set that enables him to mediate successfully the most complex of international employment disputes faced by the parties.

Neil is open to and welcomes instruction as a mediator, or as a lawyer representing parties in mediation, in the ADR processes operated by the various international organisations around the world.


Neil studied law in Nottingham and London and was called to the bar in 1990. After completing pupillage in East Anglia he joined the Army Legal Corps and undertook a four year Commission serving in Belize, Germany, Bosnia and Cyprus where he prosecuted and defended serious criminal offences and also advised soldiers suffering from foreign legal difficulties whilst serving abroad.

Neil spent seven years at the Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office prosecuting the most serious drugs and complex VAT cases. He also pioneered a new post as a member of the National Investigation Service Operations Board giving live advice on the most sensitive investigations such as undercover operations and boarding of vessels at sea. As a member of the Prosecutions Office Senior Management Team he lead the Prosecution Group Legal Secretariat which provided advice and legal guidance to all the prosecutors in the office, conducted all extraditions and had oversight of all requests for mutual legal assistance and references of the Revenue to the European Court of Human Rights. He acquired a particular knowledge of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 as he contributed to the drafting of the primary and secondary legislation together with the various Codes of Conduct.

Neil practiced for six years as a self-employed barrister at the criminal bar across South Eastern Circuit where he was Head of the Criminal Team at Trinity Chambers and then East Anglian Chambers. Primarily a defence advocate he enjoyed a varied practice covering all types of serious criminal offences with an emphasis on fraud, money laundering, drug trafficking and confiscation cases. He was also appointed to the Attorney General’s Unified List of Prosecuting Advocates.

Neil has more recently spent eighteen months advising on a criminal investigation being undertaken in the Turks and Caicos Islands into allegations of bribery, corruption and money laundering by senior political figures. Currently he is assisting a multinational corporation in relation to a Negotiated Resolution Agreement with the World Bank and conducting an investigation into the company books and records.