Admitted to practice 2004
Senior Counsel 2020


Stephen McDonald is recognised as one of Australia’s leading public law Senior Counsel. Stephen accepts briefs in appeals in all areas of law, both civil and criminal.

Stephen has appeared as counsel in the Supreme Court of South Australia, the Federal Court of Australia and other State and federal courts. He has appeared in several significant cases in the High Court in the areas of constitutional law, administrative law and criminal law. He also has an extensive advice practice.

Prior to commencing practice at the Bar, Stephen was a Senior Solicitor at the South Australian Crown Solicitor’s Office. He was previously the Research Assistant to the Solicitor-General for South Australia, Chris Kourakis SC (now Chief Justice of South Australia), and Associate to Justice Richard White of the Supreme Court of South Australia (later a Justice of the Federal Court).

Stephen is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Adelaide Law School. He is the co-author of a student text on Administrative Law, and has taught in Constitutional Law and Administrative Law.

Professional Memberships

  • South Australian Bar Association
  • Law Society of South Australia — Administrative Law Committee (2013-2016; Chair 2014-2016)
  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law
  • Australian Association of Constitutional Law — SA Chapter Convenor (2018-); National Council (2017-); Secretary (2019-2020); Vice-President (2020-)
  • Australian Institute of Administrative Law — SA Chapter Organising Committee (2012-)
  • South Australian Law Reform Institute Advisory Board (2018-)
  • Australian Bar Association Ethics Committee (2019-)
  • JusticeNet SA — Management Committee (2020-); Vice President (2023-)
  • International Association of Constitutional Law
  • International Law Association (Australian Branch)
  • International Society of Public Law (ICON•S)
  • University of Adelaide Law School Public Law and Policy Research Unit
  • Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council (2017-2023)

Practice Areas

  • Civil and Commercial
  • Criminal Law
  • Public Law
  • Appellate
  • Consumer Protection Law
  • Contractual Disputes
  • Corporations
  • Equity
  • Real Property
Common Law
  • Conflict of Laws / Choice of Law
  • Intentional Torts
  • Negligence
  • Workers Compensation (appellate only)
Criminal Law
  • Appellate
Employment and Industrial Law
  • Appellate
  • Discrimination
  • Appellate
  • Real Property
  • Trusts
Public Law
  • Appellate
  • Administrative Law and Judicial Review
  • Civil and Human Rights
  • Constitutional Law
  • Criminal Assets Confiscation
  • Customs
  • Discrimination
  • Extradition
  • Freedom of Information
  • Local Government
  • Migration Law
  • Native Title
  • Public International Law