Vale – Douglas Raymond Meagher ED, QC


Bar Roll No: 725

It is with regret that the Bar Council informs members of the death of Douglas Raymond Meagher QC, on 5 June 2022. He was 81. 

Doug was born in Melbourne in 1941. His father served in WW2, established successful businesses in Cheltenham, and held various cabinet ministries in the Bolte and Hamer governments. Doug attended several schools including Mentone Grammar, Mordialloc-Chelsea High School and matriculated from Wesley College. 

Doug studied law at University of Melbourne graduating LLB (Hons) in 1963. He was admitted to practice in 1964 and signed the Bar Roll on 28 May 1964 reading with Sir Edward Woodward. Doug had four readers: Darryl Saw, Michael Strong, Julian Fitzgerald and Michael Monester.

In 1980 Doug accepted the brief as counsel assisting Frank Costigan QC in the Joint Commonwealth/State Royal Commission into the Federated Painters and Dockers Union. He took silk in 1982.

During the course of the Costigan Royal Commission Doug developed his use of computers, and the ways they could assist in such inquiries, and in the Courtroom. In the late 1980s he was one of the pioneers in the introduction of computers into the courtroom.

As a junior he appeared in many reported civil and criminal cases, the latter mostly as prosecutor.  As a silk, Doug appeared in many notable commercial and criminal cases. He was prosecutor of some of Victoria’s hardest, and long running, criminal trials.  He was often briefed to act on behalf of so called “high profile” company directors and lawyers who found themselves in trouble with regulators.  In 2001 Doug successfully appeared for the Commonwealth in “The Stolen Generation Case”.  

Doug was a prodigious worker and a leading advocate. He had reputation as a tough, but scrupulously fair, prosecutor and opponent.   He perfected the art of examining witnesses in chief, and he was an especially powerful cross examiner.  He was a dangerous re-examiner, often causing what was thought to have been effective cross examination from defence counsel to unravel quickly.  He would almost always do this without a note.

Doug was always available to assist junior barristers. He served on Bar Council and many Bar Council Committees, including the Ethics Committee.  He was properly recognised as a Living Legend of the Bar in 2003. He ceased accepting briefs in 2006, appearing in 2012 for the last time leading his son Andrew, a member of the Bar.

Doug is survived by his wife Rosemary and their three children, Lucinda, Shelley and Andrew, and five grand-children.

Doug’s funeral will be held at 10:00am, Thursday 16 June, at St Andrew’s Brighton, 228 New St, Brighton.

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