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Criminal lawyer’s $130k security order looms over future proceedings

A high-profile criminal lawyer will have to hand over $130,000 in security to a law firm she has been fighting for over a decade.

user iconNaomi Neilson 10 August 2023 Big Law
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Zali Burrows, whose client list includes the likes of former Auburn deputy mayor Salim Mehajer and drug importer Bassam Hamzy, has been ordered by the Federal Court to pay Macpherson Kelley Lawyers $130,000 before any further proceeding can begin.

Justice Brigitte Markovic ordered that the first half must be paid within 28 days and the second half paid 42 days before the commencement of any final hearing. Failure to pay the money within those time frames will mean a stay of the proceedings.

It comes after Ms Burrows failed to appeal a bankruptcy notice and is the latest in a 12-year legal stoush with the law firm.


Ms Burrows has alleged Macpherson Kelley, who represented her in a major court matter, made certain representations and failed to make certain disclosures to court staff. She claimed this behaviour amounted to misleading or deceptive conduct.

In the current matter, Macpherson Kelley contended Ms Burrows would be unable to satisfy court orders if they are successful.

The firm relied on the fact that Ms Burrows does not own any real Australian property, has failed to comply with the bankruptcy notice, and has not satisfied payments in other courts.

In reply, Ms Burrows submitted that even taking the firm’s evidence at its highest, “they have not established that any of them would be entitled to a costs order in anything like the amount sought”.

However, Ms Burrows failed to lead any evidence that would demonstrate her ability to meet a costs order.

“Although Ms Burrows is a practising solicitor, she did not … put before the court any evidence of her income and/or of any assets which she owns,” Justice Markovic commented in her written judgment.

Justice Markovic added Ms Burrows’ submissions as to the entitlement of costs were “misplaced”.

“Despite her submissions to the contrary, I am satisfied that the respondents have established that there is reason to believe that Ms Burrows could not meet a costs order if made in this proceeding.”

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