Royal Commissions and Parliamentary Inquiries are not to be underestimated. They have extremely broad powers, and the process is invariably invasive for those involved.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to manage these risks on your own. It is therefore critical that all witnesses are legally represented.
The terms of reference for commissions and inquiries are generally permissive so it can be difficult to identify the precise issues relevant to each witness. The only way to manage this uncertainty is to be prepared. This includes engaging legal representation as early as possible to assist in gathering together the relevant material and help in familiarising you with the documents. During this process, we will also be able to advise you on the scope of legal professional privilege and privilege against self-incrimination.
Likewise, regulators such as Consumer Affairs can conduct investigations into individuals who may have breached the statutory requirements of their profession. A judicial review or a merits review can be commenced where an individual is concerned the regulator has made an improper decision.
We have successfully acted for individuals in various inquiries and civil actions, including:
- Acting for a senior officer of the Country Fire Association in the Inquiry into the CFA Training College at Fiskville;
- Acting for a witness in an IBAC inquiry into appropriation of government funds to private education institutions;
- Acting for various individuals the subject of investigation by a regulator;
- Acted in merits review proceedings in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal; and
- Judicial review proceedings in the Supreme Court of Victoria.