The myriad of issues confronting Australia's federal and state governments are far-reaching and complex. As a nation we face the need to re-shape the economy, the quest for smarter regulation as opposed to more regulation, delivery of fundamental services across infrastructure, education and health, and combatting a cyber-revolution.

We enjoy meeting the challenges that come with working on matters where underpinning policy objectives need to be accommodated within commercial frameworks. Over the years we have helped government clients to weather extensive reform and other changes and challenges. This includes assisting the highest levels of government to implement legislative and structural reform; advising on high profile, complex government investigations and inquiries which are shaping the future of Australia; and giving strategic advice on significant government infrastructure projects.

Henry Davis York is a long-term and highly regarded provider of legal services to the government sector. Our government clients tell us that one of the things that sets us apart from other law firms is how much we know about their department or agency, its history and the environment in which it operates.

We have an enviable client list which has helped us to attract some of the best government lawyers in Australia, many of whom have also worked in-house in senior roles at some of the largest government agencies.

We advise Australia's largest State and Federal government departments and agencies, as well as 20 local councils, across all areas of law. For over 20 years we have partnered with some of NSW's largest agencies, such as Transport for NSW (TfNSW), Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), RailCorp, Sydney Trains and NSW Trains, the NSW Police Force, NSW Health, Department of Finance, Services and Innovation, Department of Industry, Skills and Regional Development, Family and Community Services, Sydney Water and the Council of the City of Sydney. For many of these clients, our people are viewed as key members of their in-house teams.

We are approved advisers to the Commonwealth government and appointed to all areas of the Legal Services Multi-Use List. We advise some of the largest Commonwealth agencies including the Department of Defence, ASIC, APRA, the RBA and the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).

They are well versed in government matters and therefore they are ahead of the game in many respects.

Our Top Government Insights

Planning reforms may limit local council windfalls through VPAs

  • 11 Nov 2016

Proposed reforms by the NSW Minister for Planning are poised to prevent local councils from gaining funding windfalls through the negotiation of Voluntary Planning Agreements (VPAs).BackgroundA new...

ICAC, procedural fairness & misfeasance in public office

  • 30 Sep 2016

Edward Moses Obeid Sr v David Andrew Ipp [2016] NSWSC 1376 (Obeid v Ipp) concerns the rights that must be afforded to persons affected by investigative or judicial proceedings, and decisions of pub...

Hidden costs and underlying zoning issues with compulsory acquisition

  • 29 Jul 2016

29 July 2016The recent case of Constantine v Blacktown City Council (No 2) [2016] NSWLEC 81 is the first to consider whether the costs of non-valuation expert reports are compensable under s59...

Competition watchdog's focus on government procurement

  • 01 Apr 2016

"There is … real public interest in ensuring that competitive public tender processes are not undermined by bid rigging or other cartel conduct"1Cartel conduct that impacts governm...

Our Government Experience


Advising the prudential regulator, APRA, in its investigations into the collapse of Trio Capital Ltd resulting from the largest ever superannuation fraud in Australia, and acting on the pursuit of banning orders against directors.

NSW Police Force

Acted for the NSW Police Force on one of the most high profile and sensitive government investigations in recent years: the Cunneen Special Commission.

NSW Police Force

Acting for the Commissioner of Police and other officers of the NSW Police Force in relation to the Lindt Café Siege Inquest.

Sydney Water

Represented 2 former Sydney Water senior executives in 2 high profile ICAC investigations: Credo and Spicer. ICAC is investigating alleged corruption in Australian Water Holdings (AWH) contracts with state-owned Sydney Water.

Transport for NSW and RailCorp

Lead legal advisers on the NSW Government's "Fixing the Trains" project, described as the "once in a generation" reform of NSW's railway operations. HDY advised on the establishment of the 3 new entities as statutory subsidiaries of RailCorp; and the demerger of RailCorp into 3 subsidiaries covering legal compliance, governance, rail safety, environment, property, contracts and employment.