Immigration & race relations: Ian has been involved with race relations and immigration law since the days of opposition to the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962. He was a member of a small group of Society of Labour Lawyers and of the Campaign Against Racial Discrimination (CARD) legal group in the 1960s, which helped draft proposals for race relations law in the United Kingdom.
He wrote his first book for Butterworths on immigration and race relations law in 1969. His book Macdonald's Immigration Law and Practice is the standard textbook used by most immigration practitioners, immigration officials, Adjudicators and Judges.
In 1981 he represented families of those who had died in the Deptford fire and became famous for riding his bike from the inquest to the High Court to challenge rulings of the coroner. In 1987 he was appointed chair of an inquiry into racial violence in Manchester Schools, following the murder in the playground of 13-year-old Ahmed Ullah by another pupil. His widely proclaimed report was published in book form under the title Murder in the Playground. In 1998 he was leading counsel for Duwayne Brooks in the Lawrence Inquiry, helped to run community self defence on behalf of young Asian clients, who mobilised to resist attacks by racist mobs on their community in Burnley in 2002, and was briefed with Terry Munyard in autumn 2003 on behalf of the Sylvester family in the Inquest into the death under police restraint of the late Roger Sylvester.
On the immigration front, Ian has been instructed in many of the well-known anti-deportation campaign cases and has been counsel, both as junior and as silk, in numerous reported immigration cases from Immigration Appeal Tribunal level up to the House of Lords, and has been to Strasbourg and to the European Court in Luxembourg.
His immigration practice continues to cover the whole field of immigration law, both court work and advice. He advises various football clubs and other sporting bodies as to overseas professional staff.
In 1998 he was appointed by the Attorney General as special advocate to the Immigration Appeals Commission dealing with national security cases, and acted in that capacity in both pre and post 9/11 appeals He resigned in December 2004 in protest against the indefinite detention powers without trial imposed by the Anti Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001, and has since acted in control order apppeals. He represents immigration clients at the ECHR and ECJ.