How is an ICAC Public Inquiry conducted?

Investigations by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), including public inquiries, are often highly complex. The ICAC provides a set of directions to clarify the conduct of a public inquiry for the various parties involved, covering each step from when inquiries are held to key considerations around the publication of, and access to evidence.

The ICAC advises that these guidelines should be read in conjunction with the Procedural Guidelines issued by the Commission under s 31B of the Independent Commission against Corruption Act 1988 (“the ICAC Act”).

 

Sitting times

  • The Commission generally sits from Monday to Friday each week, from 10:00am to 4:00pm.

 

Authorisation and legal representation

  • The presiding Commissioner may authorise a person to appear at a public inquiry if it is determined that they have a substantial and direct interest in the subject matter of the inquiry.
  • The person authorised to appear or a person giving evidence at the public inquiry may also be authorised by the Commissioner to be legally represented at the inquiry.

 

Witnesses

  • Subject to the control of the presiding Commissioner, Counsel Assisting will determine what witnesses to call at a public inquiry and the order in which they are called.
  • The presiding Commissioner may decide to receive the evidence of a witness orally or by statement.
  • Persons required to give evidence will be provided with appropriate notice of the time the Commission will call upon their summons to attend and give evidence.
  • All witnesses will be called to give evidence by Counsel Assisting, and then examined by Counsel Assisting. If there is more than one Counsel Assisting there may be circumstances in which a witness might be examined by more than one of the Counsel Assisting. The witness may then be cross-examined by or on behalf of any person considered by the presiding Commissioner to have sufficient interest to do so. The witness may then be examined by his or her own legal representative. Counsel Assisting may re-examine. Duplication and repetition must be avoided.

 

Documents

  • A copy of any document proposed to be put to a witness in cross-examination must be provided to Counsel Assisting prior to the commencement of the cross-examination, as soon as possible after a decision is made to use the document for such purpose.

 

Suppression orders

  • Suppression orders may be made relating to names and identifying details of persons who have a legitimate need for protection.
  • Applications for a suppression order in relation to any document must be made to the Commissioner as soon as possible, clearly identifying the material sought to be suppressed and public interest grounds of the application.

 

Evidence

  • The testimony of any witness before the Commission may be published unless an order is made prohibiting the publication of particular evidence;
  • Any person appearing before the Commission will have access to any tendered evidence for the purpose of appearance before the Commission
  • For the purpose of public reporting of the proceedings of the Commission, any authorised media representative may inspect any tendered evidence on the conditions that:
    • It is not used for any other purpose than public reporting of the proceedings of the Commission, and;
    • Any contents indicated by Counsel Assisting as unsuitable for publication must not be published without the leave of the Commission.

 

Submissions

  • Unless otherwise ordered, at the conclusion of the evidence oral submissions will not be allowed but orders will be made for the making of written submissions. Generally, Counsel Assisting will be required to provide written submissions within 14 days of the close of evidence and all other parties will be required to provide their written submissions 14 days thereafter.
  • In accordance with Commission practice, a suppression order under s112 of the ICAC Act will usually be made in relation to all written submissions. Ancillary orders may be made to permit publication of certain submissions to specified parties to ensure procedural fairness.

Nyman Gibson Miralis specialise in complex corruption investigations involving the ICAC. Contact us if you require assistance.