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‘Repeated flagrant flouting of the law’ sees lawyer struck off

A former Queensland solicitor, who is facing criminal charges for alleged fraud and money laundering, has been found guilty of professional misconduct and is set to be struck from the roll.

user iconLauren Croft 27 April 2023 The Bar
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Following charges brought by the Queensland Legal Services Commissioner, Queensland criminal lawyer Adam Raydon Magill has been found guilty of professional misconduct and unsatisfactory professional misconduct following a breach of bail conditions and failing to notify the Law Society of those breaches.

The Honourable Duncan McMeekin KC, member of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, said these charges show a “flagrant flouting of the law and recommended that Mr Magill’s name remain removed from the roll of practitioners in Queensland, in a judgment delivered on 24 April.

The “most serious” of the charges brought by QLSC relate back to seven convictions for six breaches of bail conditions in 2018 and 2019.


In October 2018, Mr Magill — a former partner and director of Brisbane-based criminal law firm Lawler Magill — was arrested and charged with multiple offences, including money laundering, two counts of fraud on Legal Aid Queensland, a fraud on Lawler Magill and falsifying a memorandum of fees.

Mr Magill was arrested along with other criminal lawyers as part of an 18-month investigation called Operation Stockade, undertaken by the Crime and Corruption Commission.

As part of the operation, six men — including Mr Magill and three other lawyers — were accused of defrauding Legal Aid Queensland as much as $340,000.

On 24 October 2018, bail was granted to Mr Magill, provided he did not contact various persons.

Mr Magill breached bail in the following months and pleaded guilty to further breaches of bail in August 2019 after communicating with a barrister named in the bail conditions. This followed orders from the Brisbane Magistrates Court that he was to wear a tracker and obey a curfew.

In McMeekin M’s judgment, he noted that Mr Magill attended a bar owned by one of the “prohibited persons”, as well as had lunch and went to a car dealership with another. After pleading guilty to five charges in August 2019, he was fined various amounts totalling $12,400.

In defence of these breaches, Mr Magill submitted that he had been highly stressed and that his mental health had been declining since 2017, but the Queensland Law Society (QLS) “formed the view that the incident of mental decompensation...seemed to follow the events, not cause them” in their reasons for cancelling his certificate.

The former lawyer also failed to notify the QLS of these convictions until September 2019.

“Mr Magill contended that he had given instructions to his solicitor to notify the QLS in a timely way,” McMeekin M stated in his judgment.

“No independent evidence is led to support that claim, for example by affidavit from the solicitor who is said to have failed in his duty, and the fact notification was made on 4 September by Mr Magill — long after the seven-day period had expired — goes some way to disproving it.”

Mr Magill was subsequently removed from the roll in late 2019 by the Law Society, which deemed that he was “not a fit and proper person” to practice law after breaching bail six times while facing fraud charges.

He appealed the cancellation of his practising certificate, but in July 2020, the QCAT ruled against him — and at the time, QCAT president Justice Martin Daubney said Mr Magill’s conduct indicated a “cavalier attitude’’ to a basic, essential attribute of a practising solicitor.

Following this, in October 2022, Mr Magill pleaded guilty to breaching further conditions of bail, which he entered into in April 2020 before the Supreme Court and which consisted of a curfew between 10pm and 5am unless he had prior written permission of the DPP.

“Mr Magill had entered Superfly disco, which was located within the Safe Night Precinct at around 8:30 to 9:00pm and was found there by a liquor unit at 12:42 am on a Saturday,” the judgment stated.

“In an affidavit, Mr Magill deposes that he was socialising with friends, that about 12:40am, he checked his phone and noticed the time, gathered his belongings, left the venue and went home. On sentence, his counsel submitted that ‘it was brought to his attention, the issue of bail’, I assume by the liquor unit, and he then checked ‘his clock’ and realised his situation.

Despite there being evidence before the Chief Magistrate of Mr Magill’s mental state in 2018, McMeekin M discerned that this couldn’t explain the repeated breaches of bail — and that there was “no psychiatric evidence relevant to the later breaches”. 

The QCAT member also added that it was “scarcely credible” that Mr Magill had simply not realised the time when breaching these bail conditions.

“All this demonstrates a flouting of the law, a disdain for the undertakings given, and hence an unfitness to engage in legal practice,” he said.  

“The conduct was likely to bring the profession into disrepute as the commissioner alleges. We find that Mr Magill is guilty of professional misconduct.

Mr Magill’s counsel had argued that there are still “substantive” criminal charges against his client to be determined, and thus the QCAT hearing was “not the time” for a judgment on Mr Magill’s fitness or otherwise to practice. 

McMeekin M noted that QCAT makes no assumptions about the validity of the criminal charges, observing that they “provide the background and context but no more”. 

“True it is that Mr Magill might feel aggrieved if he is acquitted of the substantive charges and yet has lost his right to practice for failing to comply with conditions that would never have been imposed but for those hypothetically false allegations. But the submission ignores the fundamental point that Mr Magill’s conduct in respect of the bail conditions reveals his character, and it is that character we must assess,” the judgment read.

The QLSC also submitted that Mr Magill’s responses to these breaches were somewhat “worrying” and showed a failure to accept the seriousness of his conduct, which McMeekin M agreed with, before finding the former lawyer guilty of both professional and unsatisfactory misconduct.

“Mr Magill now is of such a character that he should be considered as permanently unfit to practice. Repeated flagrant flouting of the law compels that conclusion,” he said in the judgment.

Mr Magill was also ordered to pay the Queensland LSC’s costs, after avoiding a $20,000 costs order back in September 2020. 

The criminal charges against him are yet to be decided.