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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.

Sports Law

Matthew leads on the Outer Temple Chambers Law in Sport activity. He has also been appointed to the Sports Resolutions UK Panel of Arbitrators and Mediators. He is also a member of the Sports Resolutions Pro Bono Panel accepting instructions for athletes in a wide variety of disputes. Currently involved in post-graduate study leading to an LLM in Sports Law, Matthew has embraced this aspect of regulatory practice which allows his love of sport and advocacy to flourish. He has represented a number of professional sportsmen in courts and tribunals and has negotiated and advised upon football contracts, image rights issues and commercial matters. Very often it is a combination of his 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
  • Premiership footballer involved in complex contractual dispute arising from a purported termination of contract
  • Crown Court and Court of Appeal for 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 routine 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 from endemic failure to care for young players in football academy

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 (please read more here).

Matthew is highly experienced at dealing with the press and media attention that many of his cases attract. He knows and recognises that the control of the ‘news story’ is sometimes as important as the ‘news story’ itself. Matthew has great experience with and has represented other clients involved in the sports industry, including Image Rights Consultants, Financial Advisors, Football Managers, Accountants and Marketing Professionals. 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. This means that Matthew’s experience and first-hand insight of these sensitive situations has proven to be invaluable for his clients.

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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