Vale Stephen Fynes-Clinton

Published: 26th August 2020

Colleagues, it is my sad duty to advise you of the passing of Stephen Fynes-Clinton, Barrister at Law, aged 59.

The Fynes-Clinton family have had a relationship with Queensland councils spanning more than six decades, beginning with Stephen’s father Geoff Fynes-Clinton and then Stephen and now, of course, his younger brother Tim.

Stephen was named in honour of Mr Stephen King, a founding partner of King and Co and the honorary secretary and legal advisor to our Association.

King and Gill, then King and Co, have served as the LGAQ’s solicitors for 118 years.

Stephen was the dux of Brisbane Boys Grammar School and the godson of the legendary Cedric Hampson QC, whom he would later join at the Inns of Court chambers.

Stephen’s contribution to Local Government was immense.

He took over the running of King and Co in his mid-20s after the untimely death of his own father at the age of just 52.

Not only was Stephen the LGAQ’s legal advisor, he was a much-respected consigliere to me when I was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, inexperienced, newly minted CEO of the LGAQ at the age of 33.

At a time when the LGAQ’s total staff numbered 12 and we had a $3m budget, his intellectual input into our affairs was immense.

He was in lots of ways my alter-ego, with Stephen, of course, being the brighter of the two of us. We were only a year apart in age and had much in common, including the love of a cool drink and a good joke at the end of the working day.

Stephen played a huge part in shaping the seminal Acts of the time during the reforming Goss Government era, the 1993 Local Government Act, Planning, and Environment Acts - all generation-shaping pieces of legislation.

He similarly played a significant role in other major reforms such as National Competition Policy and Tort Law.

Equally, he was at Ian Leckenby’s and my side as we created LGM, LGW and Local Buy, writing the Trust Deeds for all those entities and remaining a member of the LGM and LGW Boards until his passing.

Due to his vast knowledge of the three aforementioned Acts, he became the founding and only author of the LGAQ’s still unique legislation service, annotating and providing simple English commentary for council staff and the legal profession.

Stephen also co-authored the first Councillor Handbook with me. Together we rewrote the Association’s Constitution and Rules for the 1996 LGAQ Centenary Conference.

Additionally, he appeared for the LGAQ as Junior Counsel to David Jackson QC in a number of successful High Court cases.

Stephen became a barrister circa 20 years ago and had a thriving practice at the Bar in local government, administrative and animal management law.

He was the bane of many a council, defending “death row dogs” pro bono and never failing to secure their liberty.

Quite simply, Stephen was brilliant and unique and his loss to the local government sector and to society as a whole is tragic.


Greg Hallam AM

Chief Executive Officer