A tribunal has delivered its verdict on whether high-profile criminal lawyer Adam Magill can continue practising while facing charges.
A tribunal has delivered its verdict on whether high-profile criminal lawyer Adam Magill can continue practising while facing charges.

Tribunal rules on lawyer's bid to keep practising

HIGH-profile solicitor Adam Magill has told a tribunal his legal practising certificate should be reinstated because of his "key role" in sourcing work for his criminal law firm.

Magill today lost an application in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal to temporarily lift the ban on him working as a lawyer.

The application came after the Queensland Law Society earlier this month found he was not fit and proper person to practise law following repeated bail breaches after being criminally charged for fraud.

The 47-year-old has also sought a review of the decision, which will be held next year.

In the interim, Magill argued for the return of his practising certificate, citing his "key role in bringing in clients and managing relationships" at criminal law firm Lawler Magill.

He also argued his inability to work would prejudice his clients and create financial hardship for his family.

Magill, a former police officer, is facing charges of aggravated fraud, fraudulent falsification of records and aggravated money laundering after an 18-month Crime and Corruption Commission investigation into his law firm.

Magill, who has not yet entered a plea, denies the allegations.

On August 1, Magill was fined a total of $9600 for breaching his bail five times, with two convictions recorded against him, after pleading guilty.

QCAT on Wednesday found there was no grounds to stay the ban on the former detective working as a lawyer.

The court found the fact Magill would suffer hardship as a result of being unable to practice did not outweigh the public interest in sanctioning those who did not uphold the standards of legal practice.

 

Adam Magill at a previous court appearance
Adam Magill at a previous court appearance

 

"It may be that (Magill) has a special rapport or relationship of trust with particular clients but that cannot outweigh the public interest in ensuring only fit and proper people are certified to practise," Justice Martin Daubney said during the QCAT hearing today.

Later, Mr Daubney said the financial hardship Magill's family would likely experience as a result of the solicitor being unable to work "would be suffered by every practitioner that has their practising certificate is cancelled or suspended".

Magill has also appealed the sentences given for breaches of bail conditions, claiming they were "excessive''.

The tribunal heard Magill had argued he breached his bail conditions because of his gregarious and outgoing personality.

Mr Daubney said the solicitor's attitude to his bail undertakings was concerning, with him saying he breached the non-contacting conditions of his bail because a network of contacts had always been part of his "branding".

"The breach by a solicitor of an undertaking, in whatever capacity, is the breach of a promise given solemnly," he said.

"The fact that a solicitor breaches an undertaking is of itself serious.

"The fact that he does so repeatedly compounds the seriousness.

"In the present case, there can be no doubt that the applicant's repeated flouting of the terms of the undertakings... gives concerns about the central elements of a legal practitioner's character.

"If a solicitor breaks a promise, what confidence can the courts, the rest of the profession and the public at large have... in the person as a practitioner?"

Magill's application for the review of the decision to cancel his practising certificate will be heard in 2020.


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