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Matthew McDonagh

Matthew McDonagh

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Matthew McDonagh is a trial advocate who appears on a regular basis before regulatory and disciplinary tribunals. He also appears frequently in the criminal jurisdiction. He is adept at ‘Judge-only’ advocacy before the Administrative Court and the Court of Appeal. Considered fearsome by some opponents, Matthew presents with a charm, charisma and calm that is regularly remarked upon by Judges.

Matthew’s particular expertise is in the forensic analysis and cross-examination of witnesses and complicated expert evidence. Matthew’s excellence in this field has been acknowledged by his consistent rankings over a number of years in the independent legal directories publications including Chambers UK and the Legal 500 – and within the testimonials that accompany them.

Matthew is the “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. And they need to know that their barrister will follow through so they may take action on the advice that has been given. Matthew gives his clients that clear opportunity.

In addition to his busy practice, 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 also sits regularly as a Crown Court Recorder.

Business Crime

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.

Recent Fraud and Financial Crime cases include:

  • Banker charged with Conspiracy to Cheat the Revenue arising out of a million pound tax rebate from investments in the British Film Industry
  • Wine investment fraud
  • HBOS banking fraud
  • Boiler Room fraud
  • Cash for Crash Insurance fraud

Matthew is comfortable assimilating paper-heavy cases quickly. 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.

General Crime

Matthew has historically appeared for both 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 his 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
  • Conspiracy to Murder involving drug dealers hiring assassins to eliminate rivals and those who were owed money.

Appointments & Memberships

  • Recorder of the Crown Court (2009)
  • Sports Resolutions UK Panel of Arbitrators and Mediators
  • ARDL
  • Fraud Lawyers Association
  • 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


‘He is excellent with the client, who is often anxious in a difficult situation potentially facing either to loss of career or profession or at the least risk of reputational damage. He is a skilful advocate whose examination of witnesses is wonderful to watch.” Professional Discipline, Legal 500 2021

“His forensic grasp of detail is excellent.” Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners 2021

“He is very smooth and persuasive.” Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners 2021

“Adopts an astute, tactical approach to cases.” Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners 2020

“A heavyweight presence in court.” Professional Discipline, Legal 500 2020

“Very user-friendly.” “Extremely well prepared and utterly personable.” Professional Discipline, Chambers & Partners 2019

“His practice includes optical, solicitors and dental cases.” Professional Discipline, Legal 500 2019

“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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