ICAC triumvirate to herald greater procedural fairness and transparency

In efforts to restructure the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), the Independent Commission Against Corruption Amendment Bill 2016 passed through the lower house and upper house of the NSW Parliament on 16 November 2016.

The amendments are to allow for additional safeguards and promote greater transparency.

The Bill is awaiting Assent and will commence on a date to be proclaimed.

What's new?

Changes to the structure, governance and management of the ICAC including:

  • Abolishing the office of Commissioner Latham. The office will be replaced by three members consisting of a Chief Commissioner and two other Commissioners. The Governor of NSW in consultation with the Chief Commissioner will appoint the other Commissioners for a term of up to 5 years. Commissioner Latham will need to reapply for the role of one of the Commissioners.
  • The Governor may also appoint Assistant Commissioners to assist the Commissioners in their work.

Changes to the ICAC's power to conduct a public inquiry. A public inquiry must now be authorised by the Chief Commissioner and at least one other Commissioner. Changes relating to procedural fairness during public inquiries. The ICAC must issue guidelines to ICAC staff and Counsel Assisting the ICAC to ensure procedural fairness for "affected persons" during public inquiries. The guidelines deal with:

  • the investigation of evidence that might exculpate affected persons;
  • the disclosure of exculpatory or other relevant evidence to affected persons;
  • the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses as to their credibility; and
  • providing affected persons and other witnesses with access to relevant documents and time to prepare before giving evidence.

Changes relating to procedural fairness before the publication of adverse findings. The ICAC and the ICAC Inspector must give a person an opportunity to respond before including an adverse finding or adverse opinion about the person in a report.

Relevance for affected persons:

As the amendments emphasise procedural fairness, there may be a greater role for those giving evidence before the ICAC to:

  • ensure that exculpatory evidence is tendered;
  • ensure that individuals receive proper notice and relevant documents; and
  • preparing responses to proposed adverse finding or opinions.

Click here for more information on the Bill and explanatory notes.

Stephen Gorry

Success is a team effort. Celebrating our victories is best experienced in numbers.

Stephen Gorry Partner

Stephen is a specialist in dispute resolution. His clients call on him to help them minimise the impact of commercial and other disputes, and with early intervention seek to avoid them altogether.

Stephen has over 28 years' experience in litigation and dispute resolution. His expertise extends to advising on corporate issues including boardroom and shareholder disputes, informative technology and intellectual property litigation and he has a wealth of expertise in entertainment, sports and media litigation. He has extensive involvement with and interest in Agribusiness as well.

In addition, Stephen helps his clients when they are the subject of enquiries and investigations by Police and other government agencies. He regularly appears in ICAC hearings, both private and public. Stephen has particular expertise in dealing with the fallout for companies when employees or senior management have been accused of fraud.

Stephen's clients value his commercial approach. He endorses mediation and alternative dispute resolution, the effective and economical resolution of disputes, and is highly experienced in resolving matters before they end up in protracted court proceedings.

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Michael Sullivan

I don't shy away from challenge or ambition or difficulty in order to get the right outcome, and always with integrity.

Michael Sullivan Partner

Michael acts for both public and private sector clients in relation to commercial disputes. He has experience in litigation, inquires and alternative forms of dispute resolution. Michael's particular focus is on providing litigation and advisory support to our government clients.

Michael has been focusing on the government sector for over 10 years, which gives him a critical understanding of the environment in which our government clients operate. He has assisted his clients with prosecutions, investigations, statutory inquiries and enforcement.

Michael has also had significant experience in acting for private sector clients in relation to commercial disputes. His particular focus has been fraud related matters and complex contractual  disputes. He brings a wealth of litigation experience to all his clients, including general conduct of litigation: preparing proceedings, obtaining witness statements, liaising with counsel and the management of discovery and production obligations in answer to subpoenas.

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Ben Wilford

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Ben Wilford Senior Associate

Ben is a specialist in all forms of commercial litigation, dispute resolution and government inquiries. He has been involved in a wide range of matters for commercial, insurance and banking clients as well as government agencies.

Ben specialises in all forms of commercial litigation and dispute resolution and has assisted clients in matters concerning contractual disputes, professional negligence, consumer class actions, defamation, property, trust disputes and copyright infringement.

He has recently acted in a number of high profile inquires. In 2016 he has acted for the Commissioner of the NSW Police Force and his officers at the inquest into the death of Katrina Dawson and Tory Johnson at the Lindt Café Siege and for the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust at the inquest into the death of Phillip Hughes. Recently, Ben has acted for NSW Health and Roads and Maritime Services at various coronial inquiries. Further, Ben has acted for Roads and Maritime Services, Sydney Trains and the general manager of Burwood Local Council at ICAC hearings. He has also assisted his clients to prepare for Special Commissions of Inquiry, ASIC examinations and ATO investigations.

Ben has acted for clients in hearings in the Federal Court of Australia, Supreme, District and Local Courts of New South Wales, the High Court of New Zealand, as well as at mediation and other alternative dispute resolution processes.

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