Commissions and Inquiries


Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry are complex, long running matters, often involving intense media scrutiny and intricate stakeholder management. We have significant experience representing clients in Commissions and Inquiries. 

What we do

  • Advise on large-scale investigations and provide support for lengthy public hearings across multiple locations. 
  • Provide extensive project management experience and the ability to deal with complex legal issues, organise information, set up teams, systems and processes. 
  • Understand the procedures and processes involved, including aspects of hearings, subpoenas, witnesses and evidence as well as complex privilege and confidentiality issues. 
  • Provide innovative technology to efficiently process and protect the large number of documents involved with a Commission or Inquiry. 
  • Work with professional advisers on a communications strategy that will help clients manage the public nature of the hearings process. 
  • Deal with Royal Commissions constituted under an array of Commonwealth and State Acts.

Our highly skilled litigation lawyers support our specialist Commissions team by conducting interviews; evidence-gathering; drafting, collating and reviewing evidence; preparing material and submissions and drafting summaries and reports.

Our experience

  • Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory: Kate Harrison, Andrew Floro and Anne Cregan acted as Solicitors Assisting the Royal Commission supported by a team of lawyers from Gilbert + Tobin and the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department including the Australian Government Solicitor and counsel. Our team worked to investigate and marshal evidence in relation to allegations of systemic failings in youth detention and child protection over a 10-year period.  The team conducted multiple hearings, research, strategic plans and forensic document analysis, managed the parties and corresponded with the Northern Territory Government on the conduct of the inquiry and worked with the Commissioners to prepare the final report which was handed to the Governor General and Chief Minister of the Northern Territory on 17th November 2017.
  • Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: Gilbert + Tobin acted for the Catholic Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council. The Royal Commission was established in late 2012 to conduct a wide ranging inquiry into the incidence and handling of child sexual abuse by government and non-government institutions. The Church established its Truth Justice and Healing Council in order to engage with the Royal Commission on a ‘whole of church’ basis, which means Gilbert + Tobin represented and advised more than 100 dioceses and religious orders. 
  • The HIH Royal Commission: We acted for a high-profile director at this Commission. Our team’s responsibilities included reviewing documents produced by all parties to the Commission, reviewing statements of evidence, preparing statements of evidence for clients, appearing at the Commission, instructing counsel, drafting submissions, advising on powers of Royal Commissions and rights of parties and acting in criminal proceedings. 
  • The James Hardie Special Commission of Inquiry: Gilbert + Tobin acted for various companies involved in this Special Commission of Inquiry and attended to matters including – producing documents to the Commission; reviewing documents produced by other parties and identifying valuation issues; preparing statements of evidence for client's witnesses regarding valuation issues; appearing at the Commission; advising on powers of the Commission and rights of parties. 
  • We have acted for state-owned enterprises in the Special Commissions for Inquiry into the Glenbrook Rail Inquiry, the Waterfall Rail Inquiry, Sydney Ferries Corporation and the Electricity Transactions Inquiry. 
  • We acted for a foreign corporation in the AWB Oil for Food Inquiry and for the Cross City Tunnel in a Parliamentary Inquiry.
  • In addition to these high-profile commissions and inquiries, Gilbert + Tobin has acted for various individuals and corporations in examination proceedings and regulatory investigations brought by regulators such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.