Ailsa McKeon

Barrister

Year of Call

2018

Profile

Ailsa became a Member of Chambers in October 2019 following successful completion of her pupillage under the supervision of Ben Lloyd, Simon Ray, and Alison Morgan KC. Following pupillage, Ailsa spent 10 months on secondment as Judicial Assistant to Lord Reed in the UK Supreme Court, after which she returned to chambers in August 2020. Ailsa also spent a period during 2023-2024 working for the human rights and law reform NGO ‘JUSTICE’. As the organisation’s interim criminal lawyer, Ailsa led a working party chaired by Prof. Nick Hardwick CBE aimed at improving decision-making in prisons across areas including segregation, adjudications and categorisation.

Ailsa accepts instructions across the range of Chambers’ practice areas, most frequently defending and prosecuting before the Crown courts. She is a CPS Level 3 (General Crime) prosecutor, and is beginning to develop a practice in extradition. Ailsa is listed on the Government Legal Department’s Junior Junior scheme and in that capacity, was instructed (alongside Christopher Knight of 11KBW) to assist Sir Tom Winsor in his independent review into the departure of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, which commenced in February 2022 and reported the same August.

Ailsa has also appeared before Social Work England and the High Court (Administrative Division) in regulatory proceedings; acted for the Office of Product Safety and Standards in confiscation proceedings under the Consumer Protection Act 1987; and appeared for vulnerable defendants in civil contempt proceedings (one set of which was ultimately discontinued after Wookey competence issues were raised) before the county court.  She has additionally acted for the Home Office in relation to the provision of recovery needs support for a victim of trafficking, and adequate accommodation for an asylum seeker. Ailsa is open to receiving instructions in new areas of public law, in particular prison law. She is pleased to take on pro bono work via Advocate.

Expertise

Ailsa was admitted to the legal profession in Queensland on 2 February 2015. She spent 2015 as Associate to the Hon. Justice Roslyn G. Atkinson AO of the Supreme Court of Queensland, where she attended and aided in the conduct of various criminal and civil trials, interlocutory proceedings, and appeals. During 2016, Ailsa interned with the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute and the defence team for General Ratko Mladic at the ICTY. Ailsa spent 2017 in the Turks and Caicos Islands working as a paralegal with Griffiths & Partners Attorneys. Having been active in pro bono work during her studies, she spent a period in late 2018 as a volunteer solicitor with the Youth Advocacy Centre in Brisbane, Australia, before returning to the UK to commence pupillage. She has additionally accumulated several years’ experience as a research assistant to various academics, including at the University of Cambridge, across areas of international law and also indigenous land rights.

  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Bar Human Rights Committee
  • Young Fraud Lawyers’ Association
  • CPS Advocate Panel (Level 3)
  • Advocate
  • 6KBW College Hill Management Committee
  • 6KBW College Hill Equality and Diversity office
  • Neurodiversity in Law (‘Champion’)
  • Barristers with Lived Experience of Mental Illness

Australian Academy of Law Inaugural Essay Prize – 2015

  • The Little Book of Market Manipulation (2019, Waterside Press), co-authored with Gregory Durston.
  • ‘Rights to Abortion in 2018: Sensing the Winds of Change?’, ILA Reporter, February 2018  (Please find link here).
  • ‘Suspicion and the Information Sharing Regime’, Money Laundering: Information Sharing and the Extended Moratorium Period – Briefing Papers (2017, White Collar Crime Centre).
  • ‘Public Contract Debarment and the Corporate Offence of Failure to Prevent’ in Anita Clifford & Natasha Reurts (eds) Briefing Papers on the Corporate Offence of Failure to Prevent Facilitation of Tax Evasion: Thoughts on Scope and Effect in the UK (2017, White Collar Crime Centre).
  • ‘How Should Academia, the Practising Profession and the Courts Assist Each Other in the Education of Australian Lawyers?’ (2016) 90(5) Australian Law Journal 355-360.
  • ‘Revoking Citizenship of Foreign Fighters: Implications for the Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court’ (Author) – Guest Post on Opinio Juris, 15 June 2015 (Please see link here).
  • ‘Queensland’s Frontier Killing Times – Facing up to Genocide’ (Co-author with Scott McDougall and Hannah Baldry) – Paper presented at the World Indigenous Legal Conference, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, 25 June 2014, and published at (2015) 15(1) QUT Law Review 92-113.
  • LLB/BA (Spanish/Peace & Conflict Studies), University of Queensland, Australia
  • GDLP, Australian National University
  • LLM (International Law) (1st), University of Cambridge
  • BTT, BPP Law School

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