Solicitor loses practising certificate over fraud charges but avoids costs order

By Naomi Neilson|16 September 2020
Brisbane

A Queensland solicitor facing criminal charges over money laundering, fraud and false fee memorandums has lost his practising certificate but has avoided a $20,000 charge for a costs order on the grounds that his argument was not “devoid of merit”.

In late 2019, the Queensland Law Society launched legal proceedings in the Civil and Administrative Tribunal over allegations that criminal lawyer Adam Raydon Magill was not a “fit and proper person” to practice. Although stripped of his practising certificate, Mr Magill recently avoided a $20,000 costs order for the proceedings. 

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The tribunal ordered that each party should bear its own costs, having found that while Mr Magill was not successful in persuading the tribunal that he should hold a practising certificate, he had “respectable arguments to advance and evidence on which to base those arguments” and the claims he made were not “devoid of merit”. 

The tribunal also noted that it was to the credit of both sides that the proceedings were run “significantly efficiently”. The review into whether Mr Magill should keep practising was held during COVID-19 restrictions, but all material was submitted promptly. 

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“Despite the significant logistical limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the parties co-operated to participate in the final hearing by videoconference, which itself ran very efficiently,” the tribunal explained in its judgement documents. 

Although allowing Mr Magill to avoid a costs order, the tribunal did mention the nature and complexity of the dispute were demonstrated by his engagement of a senior and a junior counsel for the hearing, the volume of the material before the tribunal and the variety of matters that were put to the tribunal for resolution during the proceedings. 

“The applicant’s case was weak,” it noted. “He persisted with the application, despite previous findings against him, and evinced a lack of insight into breaching conduct.” 

Mr Magill is facing several criminal charges including money laundering, fraud against Legal Aid Queensland, fraud on Lawler Magill and falsifying a memorandum of fees.

Mr Magill was arrested along with other criminal lawyers as part of a long investigation that spanned 18 months. He was granted bail but breached these conditions and had plead guilty to five further breaches. Following one of these proceedings, he was told to wear a tracker and obey a curfew by the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

Solicitor loses practising certificate over fraud charges but avoids costs order
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