Tuesday 11 April 2017
Companies, organisations and government entities are more likely than ever before to be involved in a Royal Commission or inquiry, according to a Maddocks dispute resolution & litigation partner.
Speaking at the launch of Ready & Responsive: A Guide to Royal Commissions, Inquiries and Investigations, Norman Lucas said a confluence of factors made it more likely that a company or organisation would be called upon to participate in a Royal Commission or inquiry as either a central or peripheral player.
‘There are now a large number of watchdogs and regulators in Australia with inquisitive powers. Increasingly too, public inquiries are part of the legal landscape’, Norman said.
‘Sometimes media exposure – more likely than ever with the 24-hour media cycle – creates the impetus for a public inquiry.
‘We saw it last year with the ABC’s Four Corners investigation into the treatment of children at the Don Dale Detention Centre in the Northern Territory, which directly led to the formation of a Royal Commission into child protection and youth detention systems in the Northern Territory.’
Maddocks has drawn on its unparalleled experience in Royal Commissions and inquiries to prepare Ready & Responsive: A Guide to Royal Commissions, Inquiries and Investigations. The firm has advised on some of Australia’s most prominent inquiries in the past decade, including the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program and the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission.
Maddocks has also represented corporate and government clients in inquiries and investigations held by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Australian Crime Commission.
Norman said that one of the reasons why Maddocks has published Ready & Responsive: A Guide to Royal Commissions, Inquiries and Investigations was to provide a practical roadmap for companies and organisations to help them navigate the processes and to minimise reputational risks to those organisation and individuals involved.
Senior associate Erin Hourigan, one of the co-authors of Ready and Responsive, said: ‘A traditional litigation strategy may not be appropriate for a Royal Commission or inquiry. Royal Commissions and inquiries are usually tasked with identifying what has occurred, who is accountable and what recommendations need to be made to ensure positive changes occur.’
Ready & Responsive: A Guide to Royal Commissions, Inquiries and Investigations provides a checklist of measures a company or organisation should consider when deciding how to respond to an inquiry. The publication provides tips on understanding the body overseeing the inquiry, devising appropriate strategies, assessing the merits of the organisation’s position and stakeholder management.
‘While the subject matter of each inquiry is different, there are some key lessons in terms of preparation, strategy and approach which can be applied across all investigations and inquiries,’ Norman said.
Click here to download Ready & Responsive: A Guide to Royal Commissions, Inquiries and Investigations.
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