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Lincoln's Inn
London, WC2A 3RJ

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George McDonald

Call: 2007


George has a broad commercial practice, with a particular focus on construction and costs litigation. He is ranked as a Leading Junior by both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500, which quote solicitors: 

  • “George is immensely clever: he has an intellect that far outstretches my own on cases that I’ve had for a while. He’ll always come in with a fresh thought.”
  • “A very pleasant and very likeable chap.”
  • "Full of fresh ideas and always responsive."
  • “Approachable, excellent on his feet, and superb in his written work.”
  • “He is extremely easy to work with, client-friendly and he combines good judgment with pragmatic advice.”
  • “He’s good on his feet, excellent on paper and always ready to pick up the phone.”
  • “Excellent on his feet and on paper”.

George has considerable experience of construction disputes, including those with an international element. He has recently been instructed on:

  • A complex claim in arbitration worth in excess of £100 million (being led by Roger Stewart QC and Anneliese Day QC) relating to a nuclear facilities project in Scotland.
  • Multiple disputes arising from a £2 billion PFI contract for the repair and maintenance of the Birmingham road network (led by Anneliese Day QC).
  • Multiple disputes relating to a £6 billion PFI contract for the management of a major UK motorway (led by Anneliese Day QC).
  • Claims arising from the Buncefield fire (led by Jalil Asif QC amongst others).
  • Disputes relating to a renowned project in Russia (led by Roger Stewart QC).
  • Expert issues in the Multiplex litigation relating to the construction of Wembley stadium (with Roger Stewart QC).

George also acts on general commercial matters, including international arbitration, professional negligence, financial services and insurance disputes. Examples of George’s recent work include:

  • Acting for the defendant solicitors in Cherney v Neuman [2011] EWHC 2156 (Ch) and successfully resisting the £15 million claim by the Russian oligarch (led by Justin Fenwick QC and Jamie Smith QC).
  • Acting for Axa insurance (led by Ben Hubble QC) in the multi-party CLE litigation relating to the collapse of ATE insurance schemes.
  • Acting for the defendant claims-handlers (led by Graeme MacPherson QC) in Markerstudy Insurance Company Limited v Endsleigh Insurance Services Limited.
  • Acting for well-known financial headhunters in claims arising from the financial crisis (led by Justin Fenwick QC).
  • Acting for a major contractor in a £110 million insurance claim following a construction project (led by Roger Stewart QC).
  • Assisting a solicitor’s firm with the insurance position following the fallout from the Madoff scandal.

George spent 3 months in Hong Kong for the prestigious Pegasus Scholarship, which included helping the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre with a number of construction arbitrations and drafting guidance to be published on their arbitration rules.

In costs, George has been instructed on some of the seminal costs cases, both on his own account and as a junior. George has particular experience of group litigation, including:

  • As cost counsel for the Mirror Newspaper in the phone hacking litigation.
  • Advising a large African community in their claims against a major oil company.
  • Acting for the claimant ex-workers in the Phurnacite litigation assessments.
  • Advising 365 local authorities in claims brought by search companies.
  • Acting for defendant travel companies in multiple holiday claims.

George has also recently acted in a rare successful appeal on hourly rates in Kelly v Hays Plc [2015] EWHC 735 (QB), and was specifically brought in as a costs specialist to assist Anneliese Day QC with the novel points of law relating to costs budgets in the leading case of Elvanite v AMEC Earth & Environmental (UK) Ltd [2013] EWHC 1643 (TCC). He was also instructed on the important solicitor-client dispute of Assaubayev v Michael Wilson & Partners, Ltd with Nicholas Bacon QC and on his own account for William Hill in the assessment of Betfair’s costs for the judicial review of the Horseracing Levy.

George is regularly instructed to address complex points of law and attend detailed assessments in the Senior Courts Costs Office (and in other courts). Such issues recently include: the impact of consumer protection legislation on solicitor’s retainers, the proper application of the fixed costs regime and the RTA protocol, the enforceability of CFAs and recoverability of ATEs premiums and legitimacy of general funding agreements, transitional issues relating to the Jackson reforms and the recoverable fees in court of protection matters.

In other matters, for 3 months in late 2009 George went on secondment to the Financial Services Authority, in their General Counsel’s Division. George advised the FSA on the implementation of recent amending EU Directives (in particular to the Capital Adequacy Directive and the Banking Consolidation Directive) and drafted the relevant text for the FSA’s amended Handbook. George was also Judicial Assistant to Lord Justice Dyson in the Court of Appeal for two terms in 2009.

For his education, George originally studied Mathematics and Philosophy at Worcester College, Oxford University. He obtained a first in his Honour Moderations and was awarded a Worcester College Scholarship. He subsequently changed to read Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (‘PPE’) and graduated with a first, completing the full degree in two years. George thereafter took the CPE and BVC and is a member of Lincoln’s Inn, where he received the Hardwicke and Shelford Scholarships. 




BA (Oxon)