Holding Redlich has had extensive experience representing both organisations and prominent individuals in Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry, such as the AWB (Oil-for-Food) Inquiry and Australia’s most recent high profile Commission of Inquiry, the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry.
Renowned for its litigation and dispute resolution capability, our disputes team has deep and broad experience in representing clients called before public inquiries.
We advise in respect of all forms of public inquiries, including Royal Commissions and investigations by the Victorian Ombudsman, the Victorian Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) and the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). For example, we:
- represent senior government officials and entities in respect of investigations into protected disclosure complaints, and whistleblower complaints
- advise senior public officials and private individuals in investigations by IBAC and ICAC
- advise entities and individuals in respect of Royal Commissions, most recently in respect of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption
- advise agencies on the conduct of internal investigations after the disclosure and reporting of corrupt, and on human resources issues which accompany these disclosures.
Across each of these areas, we utilise a deep understanding of the relevant forum and work collaboratively with our clients. Our aim is to provide the legal advice and strategic approach that best protects our client, taking into account the legal, commercial and political constraints.
We work closely with our clients to identify key areas of investigation, and assist them to compile and review their documentary evidence in relation to the issues. Where compulsory document production is expansive in scope, we utilise external IT providers and paralegals to aid in the document filtering process, thereby limiting the scope and cost of production. Of course, costs are saved without compromising on quality, as the review is closely supervised by experienced senior lawyers.
We also work closely with our clients to identify the key legal risks presented by an inquiry. Our experienced team is supported by an in-house legal research team which provides no-cost research services to support our service provision to clients. The team can also provide no-cost research solutions direct to our clients.
An important aspect of the support we provide is to familiarise the executive with the processes of the inquiry and to spend time preparing the executive to answer questions effectively. It is our job to help the executive present to the inquiry the true story, as distinct from the political slant that is often emphasised by cross-examiners.
Where necessary and relevant we also retain and work closely with counsel and technical experts within and external to our client’s business, and to obtain advocacy and other specialist expertise for the benefit of our clients.
Our strategic and empathetic approach is proven to successfully protect our clients from adverse findings. We are also acutely aware of the potential for related publicity, and we assist our clients to align that messaging with our client’s public persona. We have worked effectively with public relations consultants in relation to media strategies during inquiries.
Importantly, we recognise that public inquiries often involve the direct intersection between the public executive and the scrutiny of the state. It can be and is commonly stressful, time consuming and contentious for the people involved. We make that process easier and we have, over a number of years, built a reputation as trusted advisers, approachable and friendly to our clients, and responsive to the diverse and specific needs of those involved.
Examples of Royal Commissions and Inquiries in which Holding Redlich has acted:
- Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry (2001-2002)
- AWB (Oil-for-Food) Inquiry (2006-2008)
- Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission (2009)
- Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry (2011-2012)
- Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program (2012-2013)
- ICAC Operation Acacia (2013)
- ICAC Operation Spector (2014)
- Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption (2014-2015)