Commissions of Inquiry

Since Australia’s Federation, commissions of inquiry have been established with regularity. While recent public attention and media scrutiny has brought these proceedings into the mainstream, commissions of inquiry have long been an important part of the Australian government system.

Involvement in a commission of inquiry can often be an emotional and stressful experience, particularly when conducted in the public spotlight. Our team has been heavily involved in some of Australia’s most high profiles Royal Commissions and Special Commissions, and is well-versed in what is required to protect our clients’ interests. We will be with you every step of the way.

How we can help

Having taken an active role in each of the recent significant Royal Commissions and Special Commissions in NSW, we understand the need to:

  • Reach an understanding of the facts quickly
  • Ensure personnel and systems operate appropriately, and properly reflect the thoroughness of systems or the professionalism of employees
  • Highlight risk management issues with a view to correcting any areas for change and minimising future impact
  • Manage the inquiry in a consistent and cost efficient manner
  • Work with the relevant employees to ensure that they understand the process, feel supported and give evidence which assists the inquiry, and
  • Where appropriate, work with counsel assisting and the Coroner to develop recommendations which achieve this balance.

Our team’s experience in acting in various forms of inquiries means that we can provide our clients with dedicated teams that are able to respond swiftly and clearly to issues as they arise. We offer document management systems that allow for efficient analysis and reproduction of relevant material, making the evidentiary process smoother for our clients.

We also support the development of our clients' internal response procedures by providing regular seminars and client updates in this specialised area of law.

Whether mobilising people to review tens of thousands of documents within very tight timeframes is required, or you need support to ensure you and your company’s people are fully prepared to give testimony, we can support you.

Our insight examined what a Royal Commission could involve and what organisations can do now to prepare – see:

Panel appointments

HDY is currently represented on the following panels for Commissions of Inquiry engagements:

  • Commonwealth Government Legal Services Multi User List Panel.
  • NSW Whole of Government Panel.


Michael Sullivan

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

Meet some of our team

Our Commissions of Inquiry Experience

Department of Premier and Cabinet

We advised on the Bethcar case study in the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse. This case study involved large scale co-ordination of documents and evidence gathering and review of systems in connection with compensation and limitation periods.

NSW Police Force - complex judicial inquiry

We worked with NSW Police in a complex judicial inquiry conducted under section 79 of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001 (NSW) into the prosecution and conviction of Phuong Ngo, convicted of the murder of John Newnam MP in 1994 and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption

We represented a private sector organisation in relation to production of documents. We assisted in identifying the categories of documents required so that commercial information was not unnecessarily divulged. We coordinated the swift identification and production of material which minimised the impact on the client's own team.