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MEET:

Aidan O’Neill QC (Scot) QC

"He knows more about European Union law than anyone else and he is incredibly creative with his ideas."

Chambers & Partners 2016
Called: 1996 | Silk: 1999 | Called (Ireland): 2020

Aidan O’Neill is a “double silk”, being Queen’s Counsel at both the Scottish and English Bars. He has a wide ranging legal practice north and south of the border. He has a particular expertise in commercial judicial review and in constitutional law. He is a specialist in European law/public law, specifically in relation to planning and environmental issues. He has a thriving employment law practice. He is a highly experienced pleader before the House of Lords/UK Supreme Court where he has appeared as senior counsel in over twenty appeals. He has also led cases before the Court of Justice of the European Union and has appeared before the European Court of Human Rights. In 2015 he was awarded the Legal 500 UK Bar Award for EU law silk of the year. Aidan is among the top ten individual barristers across the UK by appearances in the UK Supreme Court in the past ten years.

The Legal 500 (2012 edition) observed that “the ‘fantastic’ Aidan O’Neill QC is ‘perceptive and thorough, with a good understanding of clients’ needs’ and that ‘the Supreme Court is his natural environment’”.  The Chambers 2015 Guide reiterates that “the Supreme Court is his natural forum – he can more than hold his own in that environment and is clearly well-respected there.” In addition he appears regularly in the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, the Administrative Court, the Court of Session (Inner and Outer House) and in a variety of statutory tribunals. He is also a widely published legal author with numerous legal articles, blogs posts and practitioner texts to his name to date. His books include EU for UK Lawyers (2nd edition, 2011), Judicial Review in Scotland: a practitioner’s guide (1999) and Decisions of the European Court of Justice and their constitutional implications (1994). He is currently engaged in writing a new book for Hart Publishing entitled Brexit, law and trade: a guide for the perplexed.

2012 LL.D University of Edinburgh (Doctoral degree awarded on the basis of published books and articles)

1991-92 LL.M.  European University Institute, Florence (Masters’ degree in Comparative, International and European law awarded on the basis of a thesis “The Government of Judges: a study in judicial politics and the rule of law”. Thesis published by the EUI as Law Working Paper 93/3)

1983-1985 LL.M. (Hons.) (First Class)   University of Sydney, Australia (Masters’ degree in legal and moral philosophy and Structures of Legal Reasoning: an investigation into the role and scope of practical reasoning in our understanding of the law”. Awarded Sydney law faculty medal for best Master’s degree of 1987)

1982-1983 Diploma in Legal Practice   University of Edinburgh

1978-1982 LL.B. (Hons.) (First Class)   University of Edinburgh (Honours courses in: History of Scots Law; Comparative Law; International Private Law; Natural Law and Theories of Justice; Legal Reasoning and Legal Theory)

2019 Equality and Human Rights Commission “A” Panel (both Scotland and England & Wales) of senior counsel

2017 Fee paid (part-time) Chair of the First Tier Tribunal for Scotland – Housing and Property Chamber

2016 Equality and Human Rights Commission “A” Panel (both Scotland and England & Wales) of senior counsel

2015 Fee paid (part-time) Chair of the First Tier Tribunal for Scotland – Tax Tribunal

2009-2013 Chairman of the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law and Honorary Fellow in the School of Law, University of Edinburgh

2009 & 2010    Visiting lecturer and course leader in “Human Rights law in Practice”, Diploma in Legal Practice at Edinburgh Law School

Sep 2007 Visiting Professor in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and Senior Research -Jun 2008 Scholar and Fellow in the Program in Law and Public Affairs, Princeton University, NJ, USA.

French (good – written and spoken)

Italian (good – written and spoken)

German (fair- written only)

Aidan is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to my clients, including advice and representation services, Alex needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes his client’s personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the matter upon which he is instructed. To read Alex’s privacy notice in full, please see here.

Aidan is regulated by the Bar Standards Board and accepts instructions under Standard Contractual Terms. To find out more information on this and the way we work at Matrix, including our fee transparency statement, please see our see our service standards.

DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

"His breadth and depth is amazing." "He is excellent on his feet, and comes up with very interesting and creative arguments." Chambers & Partners also states that "Aidan is very well known, is excellent on his feet and comes with very interesting and creative arguments." "He is very good on his feet, robust and confident in his position without being bullish."

Chambers & Partners 2021

"His breadth and depth of knowledge both in the law in English law, Scottish law and European law as well as international law is simply mind boggling."

Legal 500 2021

"Extremely user-friendly and supremely swift at getting to the heart of matters." "Experienced and capable of putting together ground-breaking arguments as well as incredibly approachable and helpful." Chambers & Partners also notes that Aidan "has terrific judgement and is very good at reading a court." "The depth and breadth of his legal knowledge is incredible."

Chambers & Partners 2020

"Has phenomenal knowledge of the law."

Chambers & Partners 2019, Civil Liberties & Human Rights

"His main strength is his ability to consider work or areas of law at short notice and be familiar with them quickly."

Legal 500 2018, European Law

"Someone to go to if you have a difficult claimant-side case and want to fight really hard."

Chambers & Partners 2018

"Very helpful and focused. Pays great attention to detail."

Legal 500 2018

"Very knowledgeable and practical in relation to proceedings with a Scottish dimension, and an expert on EU law.” “His written advocacy is excellent. He’s an utterly comprehensive and knowledgeable advocate with virtually unrivalled experience in the higher courts."

Chambers & Partners 2017

"A natural, enthusiastic orator, whose breadth of practice is staggering."

Legal 500 2017

"Knows more about European Law than anyone else and he is incredibly creative with his ideas”. “A heavy hitter, he produces spectacular written notes that show his learning and he is never second bested on them."

Chambers & Partners 2016

"The Supreme Court is his natural forum – he can more than hold his own in that environment and is clearly well-respected there.” “His advocacy skills are tremendous, he is intellectually impressive and he is prepared to take on extremely difficult and notorious work."

Chambers & Partners 2015

"He has an excellent grasp of cutting-edge issues” and “The other side are always extremely intimidated by his knowledge of the law."

Legal 500 2015
Matrix Chambers
24 HOUR ASSISTANCE
+44 (0)20 7404 3447
Called: 1996 | Silk: 1999 | Called (Ireland): 2020

"He knows more about European Union law than anyone else and he is incredibly creative with his ideas."

Chambers & Partners 2016

MAIN AREAS OF PRACTICE

  • Commercial Law
  • Competition
  • Discrimination and Equality
  • Education Law
  • Election Law
  • Employment Law
  • Environmental Law and Natural Resources
  • EU Law
  • Civil Liberties and Human Rights
  • Immigration, Asylum and Free Movement
  • Public International Law
  • Public Law
  • Sports Law
  • Police, Inquests and Prison
  • Commercial Public Law

Aidan O’Neill QC (Scot) QC

Contact Aidan: aidanoneill@matrixlaw.co.uk | +44 (0)20 7404 3447

Contact Aidan's Practice Team (Team M): TeamM@matrixlaw.co.uk


Aidan O’Neill is a “double silk”, being Queen’s Counsel at both the Scottish and English Bars. He has a wide ranging legal practice north and south of the border. He has a particular expertise in commercial judicial review and in constitutional law. He is a specialist in European law/public law, specifically in relation to planning and environmental issues. He has a thriving employment law practice. He is a highly experienced pleader before the House of Lords/UK Supreme Court where he has appeared as senior counsel in over twenty appeals. He has also led cases before the Court of Justice of the European Union and has appeared before the European Court of Human Rights. In 2015 he was awarded the Legal 500 UK Bar Award for EU law silk of the year. Aidan is among the top ten individual barristers across the UK by appearances in the UK Supreme Court in the past ten years.

The Legal 500 (2012 edition) observed that “the ‘fantastic’ Aidan O’Neill QC is ‘perceptive and thorough, with a good understanding of clients’ needs’ and that ‘the Supreme Court is his natural environment’”.  The Chambers 2015 Guide reiterates that “the Supreme Court is his natural forum – he can more than hold his own in that environment and is clearly well-respected there.” In addition he appears regularly in the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, the Administrative Court, the Court of Session (Inner and Outer House) and in a variety of statutory tribunals. He is also a widely published legal author with numerous legal articles, blogs posts and practitioner texts to his name to date. His books include EU for UK Lawyers (2nd edition, 2011), Judicial Review in Scotland: a practitioner’s guide (1999) and Decisions of the European Court of Justice and their constitutional implications (1994). He is currently engaged in writing a new book for Hart Publishing entitled Brexit, law and trade: a guide for the perplexed.

University Education

2012 LL.D University of Edinburgh (Doctoral degree awarded on the basis of published books and articles) 1991-92 LL.M.  European University Institute, Florence (Masters’ degree in Comparative, International and European law awarded on the basis of a thesis “The Government of Judges: a study in judicial politics and the rule of law”. Thesis published by the EUI as Law Working Paper 93/3) 1983-1985 LL.M. (Hons.) (First Class)   University of Sydney, Australia (Masters’ degree in legal and moral philosophy and Structures of Legal Reasoning: an investigation into the role and scope of practical reasoning in our understanding of the law”. Awarded Sydney law faculty medal for best Master’s degree of 1987) 1982-1983 Diploma in Legal Practice   University of Edinburgh 1978-1982 LL.B. (Hons.) (First Class)   University of Edinburgh (Honours courses in: History of Scots Law; Comparative Law; International Private Law; Natural Law and Theories of Justice; Legal Reasoning and Legal Theory)

Memberships/Appointments

2019 Equality and Human Rights Commission “A” Panel (both Scotland and England & Wales) of senior counsel 2017 Fee paid (part-time) Chair of the First Tier Tribunal for Scotland – Housing and Property Chamber 2016 Equality and Human Rights Commission “A” Panel (both Scotland and England & Wales) of senior counsel 2015 Fee paid (part-time) Chair of the First Tier Tribunal for Scotland – Tax Tribunal 2009-2013 Chairman of the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law and Honorary Fellow in the School of Law, University of Edinburgh 2009 & 2010    Visiting lecturer and course leader in “Human Rights law in Practice”, Diploma in Legal Practice at Edinburgh Law School Sep 2007 Visiting Professor in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and Senior Research -Jun 2008 Scholar and Fellow in the Program in Law and Public Affairs, Princeton University, NJ, USA.

Foreign Languages

French (good – written and spoken) Italian (good – written and spoken) German (fair- written only)

Articles and downloads

Paper: “Constitutional law in the Supreme Court” in Clarry (ed.) (2018-2019) 10 UK Supreme Court Yearbook 1-33 Paper: “BREXIT, democracy and the rule of law” (2020) European Law Journal 1-46 Paper: Competition Law and Fundamental Rights: Some Unresolved Issues Slides: Competition Law and Fundamental Rights: Some Unresolved Issues
Aidan's Privacy Notice

Aidan is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to my clients, including advice and representation services, Alex needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes his client’s personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the matter upon which he is instructed. To read Alex’s privacy notice in full, please see here.


DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

"His breadth and depth is amazing." "He is excellent on his feet, and comes up with very interesting and creative arguments." Chambers & Partners also states that "Aidan is very well known, is excellent on his feet and comes with very interesting and creative arguments." "He is very good on his feet, robust and confident in his position without being bullish."

Chambers & Partners 2021

"His breadth and depth of knowledge both in the law in English law, Scottish law and European law as well as international law is simply mind boggling."

Legal 500 2021

"Extremely user-friendly and supremely swift at getting to the heart of matters." "Experienced and capable of putting together ground-breaking arguments as well as incredibly approachable and helpful." Chambers & Partners also notes that Aidan "has terrific judgement and is very good at reading a court." "The depth and breadth of his legal knowledge is incredible."

Chambers & Partners 2020

"Has phenomenal knowledge of the law."

Chambers & Partners 2019, Civil Liberties & Human Rights

"His main strength is his ability to consider work or areas of law at short notice and be familiar with them quickly."

Legal 500 2018, European Law

"Someone to go to if you have a difficult claimant-side case and want to fight really hard."

Chambers & Partners 2018

"Very helpful and focused. Pays great attention to detail."

Legal 500 2018

"Very knowledgeable and practical in relation to proceedings with a Scottish dimension, and an expert on EU law.” “His written advocacy is excellent. He’s an utterly comprehensive and knowledgeable advocate with virtually unrivalled experience in the higher courts."

Chambers & Partners 2017

"A natural, enthusiastic orator, whose breadth of practice is staggering."

Legal 500 2017

"Knows more about European Law than anyone else and he is incredibly creative with his ideas”. “A heavy hitter, he produces spectacular written notes that show his learning and he is never second bested on them."

Chambers & Partners 2016

"The Supreme Court is his natural forum – he can more than hold his own in that environment and is clearly well-respected there.” “His advocacy skills are tremendous, he is intellectually impressive and he is prepared to take on extremely difficult and notorious work."

Chambers & Partners 2015

"He has an excellent grasp of cutting-edge issues” and “The other side are always extremely intimidated by his knowledge of the law."

Legal 500 2015