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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.

Law In Sport

Matthew is a member of Outer Temple Chambers’ Law in Sport Team. This team allows Chambers’ wide-ranging expertise to assist clients in all aspects of their legal requirements. Matthew holds the firm view that “Sports Lawyers” per se do not exist as both individuals and institutions involved in sport may face a wide wide range of legal issues – and that no single lawyer can expect to be a leading expert in all areas that may require advice or representation. However, there is arguably no other Chambers with such a wide-ranging expertise across the legal disciplines as Outer Temple Chambers.

Matthew regularly represents those involved in Court and Tribunal Hearings. Very often it is a combination of speedy and sensible advice that avoids contentious issues developing into public hearings.

Recent cases include:

  • Football Association Tribunal for a football club appealing against sanctions imposed for financial irregularities
  • Crown Court and Court of Appeal for a former Premiership Footballer acquitted of involvement in a drug conspiracy
  • Footballer acquitted of causing grievous bodily harm to two opponents on the football pitch
  • International Netball player assaulted by doctor during examination
  • Gambling irregularities at the British Horseracing Authority
  • International Sports Gambling Syndicate advised upon British investment
  • Employment dispute regarding Football Academy employee
  • Child Welfare issues arising out of an endemic failure to care for young players

Matthew is highly experienced at dealing with the press and media attention that many of his cases arouse. The control of the ‘news story’ is sometimes as important as the ‘news story’ itself. Matthew has great experience with and has represented others involved in the sports industry, including Image Rights Consultants, Financial Advisors, Football Managers, Accountants and Marketing Professionals. Whilst there may be no such thing as a “Sports Lawyer,” barristers dealing with this area of work must be sensitive to the wide-reaching ramifications of their cases that may not always be present in other forensic fields.

Matthew’s passion for those involved in the sport’s industry is evident in his efforts to increase his involvement in this type of work. He regularly attends and presents at industry events. He has published comments on legal aspects arising from the sector and continues to write on issues of interest.

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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