Vale – Judge Paul Mullaly QC


Bar Roll No: 483

It is with regret that the Bar Council informs members of the death of Paul Richard Mullaly QC, on 14 June 2022. He was 92.

Paul Mullaly was born in Preston in 1929 and raised with his 3 sisters and 5 brothers in Caulfield. He attended De La Salle College in Malvern and then studied law at the University of Melbourne.

In 1952 he commenced articles with the legendary criminal law solicitor, Ray Dunn and then signed the Bar Roll in November 1952. He read with Ben Dunn, later a County Court and Supreme Court Judge. At the beginning of his career at the Bar, Paul had a wide practice but his particular skills in criminal cases were quickly recognised.

In 1961 he was appointed as a Prosecutor for the Queen, an office he held until 1977. Paul was a formidable prosecutor appearing for the Crown in many difficult trials and appeals in the County, Supreme and High Courts. He was a lawyer’s lawyer. His encyclopaedic knowledge of the criminal law led to him becoming widely known and appreciated as “The Ace”.

His deep knowledge of the criminal law enabled him to provide sound advice on appropriate law reform. Commencing in the 1970s, he, along with Justice Tom Smith QC and Professor Louis Waller did the work to modernise the Crimes Act 1958, from the era of felonies and misdemeanours to the now well understood categories of indictable and summary offences. His work in law reform continued thereafter for many decades, in particular in the areas of sexual assaults, sentencing and criminal procedure.

Paul took silk in 1976 and a year later he was appointed as Victoria’s first Crown Counsel, a role where he provided wide ranging advice to Government and to the then Solicitors General Tony Murray QC and Daryl Dawson QC, as they then were.

In 1979 Paul was appointed a judge of the County Court where he served the community with great dedication for the next 22 years. Such was Paul’s knowledge and preparation Counsel always left Judge Mullaly’s court having learnt something. Indeed, throughout his time at the County Court he provided great assistance to many judges in all aspects of the criminal law. He later converted his knowledge and assistance into what remains as invaluable texts for barristers, indeed the whole profession including judicial officers, when he compiled and wrote the Victorian Sentencing Manual and later the Victorian Trial Manual. These seminal works have remained part of the working tools for all in the criminal justice system and are now continued as part of the digital resources of the Judicial College of Victoria.

After his retirement from the County Court in 2002, Paul continued his historical research producing the award-winning book, “Crime in the Port Phillip District 1835-51”. At age 85, he was pivotal in the Royal Historical Society of Victoria’s digital reproduction of the casebooks of Victoria’s first judge- Judge Willis.

Over the 50 years from signing the Bar roll to his retirement from the Bench, Paul became a giant in the criminal law in this State. He was “The Ace”.

Paul is survived by his 6 children, 14 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. His original barrister’s wig past first to his son, now County Court Judge Gerard Mullaly, was recently, proudly further passed on to his grandson Eugene Twomey who signed the Bar Roll in May 2022.

An open to all Funeral Mass for Paul Mullaly will be at St Marys Church, 91 Manning Road East Malvern on 30 June 2022 at 12:00 pm (midday). The Funeral Service will be streamed online and can be accessed via the Tribute Page for Paul Mullaly.

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