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Disgraced migration agent blocked from joining legal profession

A former migration agent’s legal aspirations have been dashed by a Supreme Court that found his history of providing inadequate advice to clients and lying to authorities was too recent.

user iconNaomi Neilson 18 August 2023 Big Law
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Based on negative reports from a Board of Examiners and the Law Society of South Australia, the Supreme Court of South Australia found Ryan Raygan was not a fit and proper person to practise law and dismissed his application to join the legal profession.

Prior to graduating with a bachelor of law and graduate diploma in August 2022, Mr Raygan had been booted from the migration career for a number of contraventions, including failing to keep adequate client notes, failing to provide frank and candid advice to clients and copy-pasting from existing clients’ statement of claims to new ones.

The Migration Agents Registration Authority and the deputy president of the state’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal also found he regularly lied about his conduct or maintained his innocence despite evidence of his wrongdoing or his own conflicting statements.


While Mr Raygan said his time studying law gave him the time to reflect and feel remorseful for his conduct, the Full Court of the Supreme Court found his misconduct was too recent.

“We are satisfied that the applicant has embarked in good faith on reforming his character. There is no reason why the necessary public confidence cannot be earned outside of legal practice.

“However, the applicant’s transgressions are too recent, and the assurances of his understanding of his obligations too tenuous, especially in light of his continued lack of understanding of his disclosure obligations, for the court to be satisfied that he is presently a fit and proper person for admission,” the Full Court ruled.

During the admission process, Mr Raygan said the cancellation was a “blessing in disguise” and assured the Law Society he has “learnt a hard lesson from my mistakes when I was a migration agent”.

Mr Raygan added that an unsuccessful attempt to appeal the AAT’s decision to bar him from the profession had been “at the forefront of my mind” during the time he spent obtaining his law degree.

However, he failed to provide the Law Society and the Supreme Court full details of the AAT’s findings, and when he was asked to add more information to affidavits, “he did so with hesitation”.

While the court accepted this was not a “deliberate” attempt to mislead and would not on its own warrant a conclusion Mr Raygan was not a fit and proper person, the court was still concerned about his understanding of the obligations of disclosure.

“That understanding is a critical capacity of a legal practitioner,” the Full Court said in its written judgment.

In the present case, the court found it did not consider an ordinary member of the public would accept Mr Raygan’s conduct, which occurred in his 40s, could be “put behind the applicant in only the time it takes to obtain a law degree”.

Although the current decision prevents Mr Raygan from joining the profession now, the court said he is permitted to apply again “when he has had the opportunity to consolidate his understanding and put the question of his fitness and propriety for admission on a firmer, more demonstratable footing”.