Arabella MacDonald


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26.2.2015 More >

Arabella MacDonald

Call to the Bar

October 2012, Gray’s Inn


BA (Hons) Jurisprudence – University of Oxford, Christ Church

Bar Practice Training Course (BPTC) – BPP London.


Arabella accepts instructions in all areas of Chambers’ work, with a particular emphasis on general crime, business crime, public inquiries and inquests, and regulatory law.

She is an intelligent and talented lawyer and advocate, who is committed to providing all of her clients with the highest level of representation and care. Consequently, she is trusted to defend and prosecute serious cases with high levels of complexity and sensitivity, both as a junior alone and a led-junior.

General Crime

Arabella is regularly instructed to defend in the Crown Court and is swiftly building an impressive and flourishing defence practice. She has successfully represented, and continues to represent, individuals charged with the full rage of offences, including: rape, perverting the course of justice, violent crimes, knife crimes, and drug related offences (amongst others).

Recent work includes:

  • The defence of an individual charged with a variety of offences, including conspiring to incite prostitution for gain, rape, and sexual assault.
  • The defence of an individual charged with stabbing her ex-boyfriend and his partner.
  • The defence of an individual who was alleged to have perverted the course of justice.
  • The defence of an individual charged with stabbing another individual during a fight, involving various young men, on a busy street.
  • The defence of an individual charged with possessing two bladed articles.
  • The defence of an individual charged with importing and possessing of a significant quantity of drugs, which the prosecution alleged he intended to supply.
  • The defence of an individual involved in a prison riot, during which another prisoner’s face was “slashed” by a blade welded into a toothbrush.

Arabella is also a Grade 1 CPS advocate and has extensive experience prosecuting in the Youth Court and Magistrates’ Court. Recent prosecutions include:

  • The prosecution of four youths, charged with the robbery of a child on a train.
  • The prosecution of an individual accused of child cruelty, battery, and common assault, after he assaulted his wife and then held his three-year-old child hostage in order to avoid arrest. During the incident he lay on top of his child, who almost suffocated.
  • The prosecution of an individual, with an offensive homophobic phrase tattooed on his head, for aggravated assault after he attacked another man simply because he was gay.

Business and White Collar Crime

Arabella has experience prosecuting and defending individuals charged with various and wide-ranging types of fraud. She has a comprehensive and strategic approach to all her cases, she is able to provide clear and pragmatic advice, and she is adept at dealing with the often voluminous papers and complexities that accompany such cases.

Recent instructions include individuals charged with the following offences

  • Fraud by false representation.
  • Internet based frauds, where individuals have stolen bank and/or credit card details, in order to purchase large quantities of goods online and in store.
  • Benefit frauds.
  • Identity frauds.

Arabella was also instructed by the Serious Fraud Office to assist with an investigation into liquidity auctions held by the Bank of England during the height of the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008.

Public Inquiries and Inquests

Arabella has a thorough understanding of the law and procedure relating to public inquiries and inquests. Most recently, Arabella assisted Fieldfisher LLP, who are acting for the Coroner, in the ongoing Hillsborough Inquests.

She is particularly interested in building her experience in this area.


Arabella has an in-depth understanding of of the law and procedure relating to confiscation (both under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and previous legislation). She is instructed to act at all stages of the confiscation process, for both the prosecution and the defence.

Regulatory Law

Arabella provided assistance to other Members of Chambers, instructed in a wide range of complicated and diverse regulatory matters. As a result, she is well equipped to advise and represent individuals facing disciplinary proceedings in front of their professional disciplinary bodies, as well as the regulators themselves.


Following the Court of Appeal’s decision in ‘CP', that a child born with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is not entitled to Criminal Injuries Compensation, Arabella is instructed as a led junior in a case involving another child born with FASD. The child is similarly appealing a decision of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) not to award her compensation, but on the basis that she was subjected to a different criminal offence. This is a complex and sensitive appeal that could have wide-ranging implications both for a number of children suffering from FASD (who await the outcome of the appeal), and on the criminal law.

Previous Experience

Prior to joining chambers, Arabella was the Legal and Policy Officer for the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW). In this role Arabella represented CBCEW at various meetings with the Government, the Opposition, the EHRC, Civil Servants, and others.

She also proposed and drafted amendments to legislation, which were accepted and now form part of the law of England and Wales; made successful submissions to Parliamentary Committees; drafted guidance on Equality and Human Rights law; and provided legal advice and detailed briefings to CBCEW and Members of both Houses of Parliament, on the impact of cases and parliamentary bills on religious freedom and freedom of expression.


In earlier years, Arabella tutored law to university and GDL level students and worked for an Insurance broker.


Ann Felicity Goddard Scholarship (Gray’s Inn)

Wilfred Getz Award (Gray’s Inn)

Appointments and Memberships

CPS Grade 1 Prosecutor

Criminal Bar Association

Young Fraud Lawyers Association

Notable cases:

R v H (2016)
Arabella is currently instructed in on ongoing appeal against the decision of the CICA not to award compensation to a child who was born with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

R v H and Others (2016)
Arabella is currently instructed as led junior in a long series of connected trials, involving sex, drug, and trafficking related offences.

R v A and Others (2015)
Arabella, as a led junior, successfully represented a man accused of rape and sexual assault.

R v HD (2015)
Arabella successfully represented a woman charged with perverting the course of justice.

R v T (2015)
Arabella successfully represented a man accused of assaulting his mother, theft, criminal damage, and possession of a bladed article.

R v L and S (2015)
Arabella successfully represented a woman charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, in a multi-handed case. Despite the fact that her client failed to attend, she successfully opposed the Crown’s hearsay application, leading to the Crown offering no evidence and not-guilty verdicts being entered.

R v M (2015)
Arabella successfully represented a woman charged with breaching her restraining order on a numerous occasion. She did so by successfully appealing the original imposition of the restraining order (out of time).

R v E and L (2014)
Arabella represented a woman jointly charged with the robbery of a very vulnerable woman. Her mitigation ensured that she received a sentence that led to her immediate release from custody.