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Matthew McDonagh

Matthew McDonagh

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Matthew McDonagh is a renowned trial advocate who appears on a regular basis in the criminal and civil jurisdiction and before regulatory tribunals. He is regarded as a fearsome advocate by his opponents but presents with a charm and charisma that is regularly remarked upon by Judges.

His particular expertise is in the forensic analysis and cross-examination of complicated expert evidence at which he excels. This excellence is recognised by Matthew’s rankings over a number of years in legal publications including Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500.

Formerly practising from a leading set of criminal chambers, Matthew appeared regularly as a Leading and Junior Counsel in the Crown Court and the Court of Appeal in cases involving murder, firearms, rape, kidnapping and robbery. In recent years he has continued to practise in criminal law and has appeared in some leading fraud cases. These include a banking fraud, film investment fraud, boiler room fraud and a wine investment fraud. Matthew is comfortable assimilating paper-heavy cases quickly and has undertaken a number of cases utilising the latest in IT presentation before juries.

Matthew is a “go to” barrister for those in crisis. These clients may require emergency assistance in a wide range of areas. They need fast and accurate advice. They need this advice to be given simply and confidently so that they can make informed decisions in the most stressful of times. Matthew gives his clients that opportunity.

Regularly instructed in all areas of regulation and professional discipline, Matthew appears before Military Courts both domestically and internationally, Inquests, Professional Discipline and Regulatory Tribunals and the Administrative Division of the High Court. His background in criminal work gives him a forensic advantage in the sometimes complicated nature of these cases. Professional and Lay Clients instruct Matthew for his calmness in all circumstances, clarity and the imaginative manner in which he approaches his cases. Matthew is also developing a practice in personal injury, clinical negligence and general common law matters. This work arose from his healthcare regulatory practice and allows Matthew to advise and represent clients throughout the legal aspects of their cases.

Matthew is instructed by a number of the leading solicitor firms for his practice areas. He also accepts instructions from indemnifiers, Hospital Trusts and other organisations. Matthew is permitted by the Bar Council to accept instructions directly under the Public Access scheme and does this regularly through the clerking team at Outer Temple Chambers.

Many of Matthew’s instructions have been generated by personal recommendations from past clients. Many of those requiring advice and representation from Matthew have international aspects to their concerns and most recently that has included jurisdictional issues arising in Cyprus, Iceland and Germany.

Matthew is a Middle Temple Advocacy Trainer and lectures regularly on medico-legal and disciplinary matters. He is a Pupil Supervisor and mentors other barristers through his Inn. He sits as a Crown Court Recorder.

Business Crime

Matthew’s fraud work most recently has seen him defend successfully in a number of SFO and other fraud prosecutions.

He has experience of dealing with multi-jurisdictional POCA proceedings, restraint, tracing, international financial regulation and forensic accountancy. These skills have benefitted a number of those that he has represented. In most recent years Matthew’s fraud work has involved lengthy trials in a boiler room fraud, a wine investment fraud and a ‘cash for crash’ insurance fraud.

Recent Fraud and Financial Crime cases include:

  • Banker charged with Conspiracy to Cheat the Revenue arising out of million pound tax rebates from investments in the British Film Industry
  • Wine investment fraud

General Crime

Matthew has historically appeared for the prosecution and defence in all areas of general criminal work. However, most recently he has only been instructed on behalf of defendants in criminal matters. He is known for a tough but measured approach.

Matthew has particular expertise in presenting complex technical evidence, often in cases involving expert witnesses and young or vulnerable defendants. He appears regularly as a Leading Junior.

Recent general Criminal Cases include:

  • Doctor facing sexual allegations arising from relationships with staff and patients
  • Rape and GBH allegations following domestic abuse
  • 50Kg Cocaine importation conspiracy involving former Premiership Footballer

Appointments & Memberships

  • Recorder of the Crown Court (2009)
  • ARDL
  • Central London Bar Mess
  • Criminal Bar Association
  • South Eastern Circuit

Matthew McDonagh is regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and holds a current practising certificate. If you are not satisfied with the service provided, please click here.

Areas of Law



“A very effective cross-examiner and a master tactician.” Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners 2018

“He appears in challenging dental, medical and solicitors’ cases.” Professional Discipline, Legal 500 2017

“He is an able and persuasive advocate, very bright and good on his feet. In his defence work, he develops a good relationship with clients and works committedly on their behalf. Clients relate well to him and respect his supportive but sensible advice.” Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners 2017

“A persuasive advocate who is popular with clients. He has very pragmatic, sound judgement.” Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners 2017

“He defends in GDC and SRA cases.” Professional Discipline, Legal 500 2016

“His client care is great and he sticks to very tight deadlines.” Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners 2015

“He is a very experienced regulatory lawyer. He has a relaxed style but at the same time he is able to focus on the important issues and deal with those. He is good on his feet and has good relations with the other side.” Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners 2014

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