Corporate Crime Lawyers

Corporate Crime Expertise

Andrew Anderson is independently recommended as being among the leading corporate crime, white-collar crime and regulatory investigations lawyers in Australia (Doyle’s Guide, 2020).

Corporate criminal cases can carry unique complexities and challenges. The way law enforcement agencies may utilise indemnities, civil penalty provisions,  and, coercive information-gathering powers requires lawyers to have a sophisticated understanding of criminal law and procedure.

With increased regulatory oversight and enforcement action by corporate regulators in Australia, ensuring you or your business gets accurate and authoritative advice can be critical to ensuring your rights and interests are advanced. Contact Anderson Legal today.


Corporate Crimes

Corporate crime or white-collar crime allegations impact reputations, relationships and businesses. Having an experienced lawyer to provide advice and guidance can be critical to avoiding a miscarriage of justice when facing a regulatory investigation or prosecution. On a daily basis, Andrew Anderson is trusted to apply his knowledge and skill to guide clients through difficult, complex and serious allegations relating to corporate crimes and white-collar offences.

Bribery & Corruption Offences

Andrew Anderson has experience in representing individuals and business operators with bribery and corruption offences. Offences of this nature include:

  • Abuse of office
  • Bribery
  • Giving a corrupting benefit to a Commonwealth official
  • Influencing a Commonwealth public official
  • Misconduct in relation to public office
  • Obtaining a benefit (general dishonesty)
  • Official corruption
  • Secret commissions

Bribery and corruption offences can involve complex issues due to the extensive powers given to anti-corruption bodies and other law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of this kind. If you or your business faces questions relating to bribery or corruption, contact Anderson Legal for a confidential discussion about how this firm can assist you.

Cybercrime

As both a Crown Prosecutor and a criminal defence lawyer, Andrew Anderson has demonstrated experience in successfully litigating cybercrime cases (computer-based crimes). Common offences of this nature include:

  • Computer hacking (Queensland)
  • Unauthorised access to, or modification of, restricted data
  • Unauthorised impairment of electronic communication
  • Using a carriage service to make a threat to kill
  • Using a carriage service to make a threat to cause serious harm
  • Using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence
  • Using a carriage service to transmit an intimate image without consent
  • Using a carriage service to make a threat about an intimate image

The proliferation of cybercrime allegations has led to increased resourcing and sophistication among law enforcement agencies when prosecuting cases of this kind. Understanding the technical nature of the evidence, importance of expert opinion and the legal context is essential for any lawyer seeking to provide advice and guidance for cases of this kind. Anderson Legal has the depth of knowledge to provide authoritative and tailored advice for cybercrime allegations.

Corporations Act Offences

The Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) contains numerous offences that may be investigated and prosecuted by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Offences may be charged against corporate entities, directors and others, depending on the nature of the issue. The broad categories of offences commonly prosecuted include:

  • Defective disclosures or false, misleading or deceptive conduct
  • False documents or false statement offences
  • Directors’ duties offences
  • Failure to lodge an annual report with ASIC
  • Unlicensed conduct or conduct contrary to disqualification orders
  • Hindering ASIC investigation offences

Andrew Anderson has experience in assisting individuals facing offences under the Corporations Act. Independently recommend as being among the leading corporate crime, white-collar crime and regulatory investigations lawyers in Australia, Andrew has the expertise and experience to assist individuals and corporate entities facing investigation or prosecution for offences against the Corporations Act.

Environment & Fisheries Offences

Environment and fisheries offences often carry significant fines and can have other implications for the approvals or licences required for businesses to operate. Examples of offences of this nature include:

  • Fishing in the Marine National Park (Green) Zone
  • Fishing in the Conservation Park (Yellow) Zone
  • Illegal commercial fishing
  • Entering or using a marine park for a prohibited purpose
  • Contravening a condition of an environmental authority
  • Failing to ensure compliance with the Environmental Protection Act
  • Carrying out activity without an environmental authority
  • Providing a false or misleading document

If you or your business is facing allegations or charges relating to environmental or fisheries laws, contact Anderson Legal. Andrew Anderson has the expertise and experience to assist you or your business.

Financial Market Misconduct

With an established reputation as a corporate crime, white-collar crime and regulatory investigations lawyer in Australia, Andrew Anderson is able to advise individuals and corporate entities on issues relating to financial market misconduct. Such issues not only have potential criminal consequences, professional disciplinary issues are also possible. Examples of offences relating to financial market misconduct are:

  • Financial market manipulation offences
  • Fraudulent investment schemes
  • Insider trading
  • Money laundering offences

If you or someone you know is facing investigation, disciplinary proceedings or prosecution relating to financial market misconduct, contact Anderson Legal for a confidential discussion to see how we can assist.

Liquor Licensing Offences

Liquor licensing offences may arise for business operators, employees and patrons. While infringement notices may be issued for a variety of liquor licensing offences, court proceedings can also be initiated against individuals and corporate entities. Examples of liquor licensing offences are:

  • Irresponsible service of alcohol
  • Selling or giving liquor to a minor
  • Failure to provide a safe environment
  • Selling liquor to an intoxicated patron
  • Selling alcohol without a licence

Andrew Anderson has substantial experience in advising and representing individuals and business entities for corporate crimes, including for liquor licensing offences. If you face an investigation or prosecution for an offence of this kind, contact Anderson Legal for a confidential discussion about your options.

Proceeds of Crime

There are a number of sophisticated law enforcement agencies that have the power to investigate proceeds of crime offences. There are both State and Commonwealth laws that impose obligations and duties on individuals and business entities with respect to proceeds of crime. Offences relating to proceeds of crime include:

  • Dealing with proceeds of crime – intentionally
  • Dealing with proceeds of crime – recklessly
  • Money laundering
  • Possession of property suspected of being tainted property

If you are facing an investigation or prosecution for an offence involving proceeds of crime laws, contact Anderson Legal for a confidential discussion about your options.

Tax Fraud & Revenue Offences

Tax fraud and revenue benefit offences are treated as serious offences in Australia, which can not only attract significant fines but also imprisonment. Offences of this kind include:

  • Comcare fraud offences (Australia)
  • Dishonestly cause a loss to the Commonwealth
  • Dishonestly obtaining Commonwealth property
  • Evasion of excise / customs duty (Australia)
  • Failing to report cash income (Australia)
  • Medicare fraud offences (Australia)
  • Obtaining a financial advantage by deception
  • Workcover fraud (Queensland)

There are numerous tax fraud and revenue offences that carry significant penalties, including in some cases lengthy sentences of imprisonment. As a lawyer who has been engaged as counsel for an appeal in the High Court of Australia in relation to Project Wikenby prosecutions, among other corporate crime cases, Andrew Anderson has the expertise and experience to provide expert advice and representation.

Work Health & Safety Offences

In Queensland, the Office of the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor (OWHSP) has the power to prosecute work health and safety offences against individuals and corporate entities. Generally, work health and safety offences fall into the following categories:

  • Industrial manslaughter (Queensland)
  • Reckless conduct (Category 1)
  • Failure to comply with a health and safety duty (Category 2)
  • Failure to comply with a health and safety duty (Category 3)

If you or your business are facing an investigation by Work Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ), or a prosecution by the Office of the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor (OWHSP), contact Anderson Legal for advice and representation. In cases of this kind, obtaining early and authoritative advice is critical due to the devastating impact issues of this nature can have on livelihoods and reputations.


Corporate Crime Regulators

For corporate crime and white-collar offences, Australia has numerous law enforcement agencies and regulators. These corporate crime regulators generally have significant powers, including the power to compel the production of evidence, wide-ranging investigative powers as well as the ability to charge and prosecute individuals and corporate entities. If you are facing an investigation or subject to compulsory notices from a corporate crime regulator, contact Anderson Legal.

Australian Border Force

The Australian Border Force operates domestically and internationally. It has a significant role in maintaining border security, civil maritime security, immigration compliance and monitoring of customs activities. The laws it administers includes:

  • Australian Border Force Act 2015 (Cth)
  • Customs Act 1901 (Cth)
  • Maritime Powers Act 2013 (Cth)
  • Migration Act 1958 (Cth)

In addition to the operation of its counter-terrorism units stationed at international airports, a significant role the Australian Border Force has is to maintain the integrity of migration system in Australia. Its work includes enforcement activities around the exploitation of foreign workers and migration programs, as well as failures in sponsorship obligations and human trafficking.

Australian Federal Police (AFP)

The Australian Federal Police is Australia’s national policy agency with responsibility for enforcing and upholding Commonwealth criminal laws both nationally and internationally. Through a fraud and anti-corruption team, the Australian Federal Police also investigates allegations of corrupt conduct and frauds against the Commonwealth. In addition to its policing services, it provides protection to Commonwealth office holders and dignitaries, as well as infrastructure and property. The scope of its work is broad but essentially falls into the following categories:

  • Countering terrorism
  • Disrupting organised criminal networks
  • Countering human exploitation
  • Disrupting economic crimes
  • Countering cybercrime
  • Protecting assets, people and transportation networks

The Australian Federal Police primarily investigate offences created by the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth). However, its enforcement capabilities extend to many other laws passed by governments throughout Australia. The Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) seeks forfeiture of the proceeds of crime and tainted property and assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth). It also works with other partner agencies across Australia in joint operations as well as in the exchange of intelligence and other data.

Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

Under the Taxation Administration Act 1953, the Australian Taxation Office has the power to disclose taxpayer information to specified law enforcement agencies where such information in the following circumstances:

  • It is relevant to determining whether a serious offence has been, or is being, committed
  • It is evidence of a contravention of a serious offence
  • It is relevant to a proceeds of crime proceeding

The Commissioner of Taxation has the power to bring cases against individuals and corporate entities where laws relating to taxation or superannuation have been contravened. Civil penalties and other consequences can follow from such proceedings, and referrals may be made relating to criminal offences.

The Australian Taxation Office operates or participates in a number of taskforces established to combat tax avoidance, serious financial crime, illegal phoenix activity and illegal economies. The work of the Australian Taxation Office, often in conjunction with partner agencies, sees numerous individuals and corporate entities charged with serious offences each year throughout Australia.

Australian Building & Construction Commission

The Australian Building and Construction Commission is an agency established by the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 (Cth). It regulates all building industry participants – employers, employees, building associations and unions – through the following laws:

  • Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016
  • Fair Work Act 2009
  • Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016 (Building Code 2016)

The Australian Building and Construction Commission has an education, compliance and enforcement focus in its operations. In regulating building and construction activities, the ABCC has the power to pursue civil proceedings to address non-compliance. Areas of compliance monitoring include:

  • Coercive practises within workplaces
  • Discrimination
  • Misrepresentation of workplace rights
  • Non-compliance with notices issued by the ABCC
  • Right of entry issues
  • Sham contracting
  • Unlawful industrial action
  • Wages and entitlements

In pursing individuals and corporate entities, including unions, under civil penalty provisions, it has been confirmed that courts have the power to make personal payment orders against individuals found to have contravened the law: Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union [2018] HCA 3. In conducting investigations, the ABCC has coercive powers that may be used in circumstances where voluntary compliance with investigators is not forthcoming.

Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC)

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is the national corporate, markets, financial services and consumer credit regulator. Established under the Australian Securities and Investments Act 2001, it has significant powers to regulate and enforce compliance with respect to its areas of operation. The primary laws ASIC uses to regulate companies, financial markets and financial services are:

  • Australian Securities and Investments Act 2001
  • Business Names Registration Act 2001
  • Corporations Act 2001
  • Insurance Contracts Act 1984
  • National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009

There are other laws that ASIC assists to administer, such with respect to superannuation.

ASIC has powers of supervision, surveillance, and enforcement. It has coercive powers that can be used to obtain information, documents and other evidence that may demonstrate a contravention of particular laws or standards. Enforcement action may result in criminal charges, civil penalties, infringement notices, disqualifications and suspensions.

Employment & Training

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) and Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) are two independent bodies that have jurisdiction nationally. In Queensland, a separate regulator for employment and training matters is Work Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ). These agencies have compliance and enforcement powers that provide oversight over employment relationships, workplace rights and safety.

Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO)

The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), created by the Fair Work Act 2009, has a role in monitoring and enforcing compliance with workplace relations legislation by employees and employers. It does so through the following:

  • Providing information, advice and education about compliance responsibilities for employees and employers.
  • Investigating claims regarding alleged breaches of workplace laws and related activities.
  • Litigating in courts to enforce compliance with workplace laws.

In enforcing compliance with the Fair Work Act 2009, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) publishes a Compliance and Enforcement Policy, which is designed to provide guidance about how it performs its statutory compliance and enforcement functions.

Registered Organisation Commission (ROC)

The Registered Organisations Commission (ROC), established under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Amendment Act 2016, has regulatory oversight of registered employee and employer organisations. It does through the following:

  • Conducting inquiries and investigations into breaches of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009.
  • Commencing legal proceedings in respect of contraventions of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009.
  • Referring possible criminal offences to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions or law enforcement agencies.
  • Arranging elections for registered organisations.
  • Receiving and investigating complaints from members of registered organisations.
  • Providing information to members of registered organisations about their rights.
  • Educating registered organisations about their obligations.

The Registered Organisations Commission has the power to take enforcement action for non-compliance with the law, such as civil penalty proceedings. Stronger enforcement action is more likely in serious cases involving systemic, repeated, opportunistic or deliberate non-compliance.

Work Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ)

In Queensland, the work of Work Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) and the Office of the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor (OWHSP) is largely framed by the following legal framework:

  • Work Health and Safety Act 2011
  • Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011
  • codes of practice

Breaches of work health and safety laws can see penalties imposed on employers, employees, contractors and others. In some instances, criminal prosecutions may be initiated for contraventions of work health and safety laws, such as where death or harm results from a breach of duty.

Environment & Fisheries

There are multiple environment and fisheries regulators operating across Australia. At a Commonwealth level, in addition to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, there are the following agencies or statutory bodies with responsibility for the environment and fisheries:

  • Australian Fisheries Management Authority
  • Director of National Parks
  • Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

In addition to the national bodies, Queensland also has laws related to the environment and fisheries in Queensland:

  • Coastal Protection Management Act 1995
  • Environmental Protection Act 1994 
  • Fisheries Act 1994
  • Marine Parks Act 2004
  • Native Title (Queensland) Act 1993 
  • Nature Conservation Act 1992
  • Planning Act 2016
  • Transport Operations (Marine Pollution) Act 1995
  • Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Act 1994
  • Safety in Recreational Water Activities Act 2011 

Regulation concerning the environment and fisheries may relate to business operators, corporate entities and individuals. Many commercial activities are heavily regulated and generally require permits, approvals or licences. Due to the potential for significant consequences to result from non-compliance with environmental or fisheries laws and regulation, corporate regulators in this area have a broad range of tools to enforce the law.

National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR)

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is the dedicated, statutory regulator for all heavy vehicles in Australia. Its purpose is to provide regulatory oversight of the heavy vehicle transport sector in Australia, given it is an industry that operates across state and territory boundaries. Its work includes:

  • regulatory and safety guidance
  • enforcement of heavy-vehicle safety
  • investigations and prosecutions
  • vehicle standards, modifications and exemption permits
  • vehicle road access permit applications
  • national exemption notices

While the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has responsibility for these functions, some states and territories continue to administer certain aspects of its work.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has the power to investigate issues and initiate court proceedings. It is able to enter into enforceable undertakings with corporate entities found to have breach a law or standard. While its compliance work may result in court proceedings, whether civil or criminal in nature, it also has the task of coordinating education and information campaigns to improve safety and efficiency within the sector.

Intelligence Organisations

Intelligence organisations, such as the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and Australian Secret Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), generally operate in secret and with extraordinary powers not available to ordinary law enforcement agencies. Such organisations may coordinate with other agencies, such as the Australian Federal Police or Australian Border Force.

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC)

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) operates as a national criminal intelligence agency, with its purpose being to discover, understand and respond to current and emerging criminal activity affecting Australia. It has a focus on collecting intelligence to combat serious and organised crime, cybercrime and national security threats. A core part of its work is collecting, collating, analysing and disseminating information and intelligence about criminal activity, generally working in partnership with other law enforcement agencies. Additionally, it has the power to conduct investigations and intelligence operations, including through the use of coercive powers.

Australian Secret Intelligence Organisation (ASIO)

The Australian Secret Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) operates to protect Australia from security threats, in accordance with its functions as set out in the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979. In essence, its work covers:

  • Counter-terrorism
  • Counter-espionage and foreign interference
  • Border integrity
  • Protective security advice

Whilst ASIO has significant powers to undertake investigations and gather intelligence, it works with other law enforcement agencies that may ultimately arrest or prosecute an individual or corporate entity involved in illegal activity.


Coercive Hearings & Notices

Law enforcement agencies and corporate regulators have significant powers to compel information and evidence from individuals and corporate entities. In some instances, secrecy provisions prevent people from disclosing that they have been subject to a coercive hearing or coercive notice to produce information. Getting advice from an experienced lawyer can be crucial to understanding your rights and obligations.

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC)

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), still also referred to as the Australian Crime Commission, has coercive powers to compel the production of documents or other evidence relevant to an investigation. The powers are used in circumstances where it is thought traditional police investigations or powers have been or are likely to be ineffective. Its work is protected by secrecy laws that make the unauthorised disclosure of its activities unlawful and punishable by imprisonment.

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission conducts operations and investigations into serious criminal activity, such as organised crime syndicates, national security threats, cybercrime operations and conspiracies to undermine government laws and systems. While it does not itself prosecute the alleged offences it investigates, it may disclose evidence it unearths to other law enforcement agencies throughout Australia.

Notices to Produce

Under section 21A of the Australian Crime Commission Act 2002, an ‘examiner’ connected to the Commission may issue a person with a notice requiring:

  • to attend, at a specified time and place, before an an examiner or a member of the Australian Crime Commission; and
  • to produce to that person at that time and place specific documents or things relevant to a special operation or investigation of the Australian Crime Commission.

A requirement may only be issued if the examiner considers issuing the notice to produce is “reasonable in all the circumstances”. If you are lawfully served with a notice to produce, it is an offence publishable by imprisonment to not comply with it, or to disclose anything about it to another person unless an exception applies. One example is a person may disclose the notice to produce to a lawyer in order to obtain legal advice and guidance.

Obtaining legal advice can be critical to understanding how, even when you may be compelled or coerced to produce a document or other evidence, to take steps to protect your legal rights and interests as far as possible.

Examinations

An examiner connected to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission has the power to compel, by a summons, a person to appear before an examiner at an examination to do either or both of the following:

  • give evidence;
  • produce documents or things referred to in the summons.

Examinations are inquisitorial in nature. Examiners, or counsel assisting an examiner, may ask questions relating to the special operation or special investigation and except in very limited circumstances, it is unlawful to refuse to answer the questions truthfully even if the answer tends to incriminate you or another person. There are steps that can be taken to safeguard, to a limited extent, how incriminating answers may be used in the future.

If you have been served a notice to produce or a summons from the Australian Crime Commission, contact Anderson Legal to safeguard your legal rights and interests. With significant experience in dealing with sensitive legal issues involving secrecy provisions, Andrew Anderson has the expertise and experience to provide you advice and guidance.

Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC)

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has coercive powers to compel the production of documents or other evidence relevant to an investigation. The powers are used for a variety of purposes, including to protect potential witness from certain claims that could otherwise be made against them, as well as to obtain evidence for later use in court proceedings.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) uses its powers as part of the regulatory framework, requiring documents and information primarily from Australian companies, as well as those associated with financial markets and financial services organisations.

Notices to Produce

Under Part 3, Division 3 of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth), ASIC has the power to give a person a written notice requiring the production of specified books that are in their possession that may relate to the affairs of a corporate entity or service with which they are associated or have in their possession or control. A notice to produce may also require the production of information that relates to the question whether an auditor has complied with specified audit requirements.

If you are lawfully served with a notice to produce, it is an offence publishable by imprisonment to not comply with it. A person served with a notice to produce can seek advice from a lawyer about their rights and responsibilities, as well as how any issues relating to privileged materials may be handled.

Obtaining legal advice can be critical to understanding how, even when you may be compelled or coerced to produce a document or other evidence, to take steps to protect your legal rights and interests as far as possible.

Examinations

An member connected to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission has the power to compel, by a written summons, a person to appear at a hearing to do either or both of the following:

  • give evidence;
  • produce specified documents.

Hearings are inquisitorial in nature. While a person may be asked questions relating to specific issues, it is also possible a witness may be permitted to give evidence by providing a written statement. There are steps that can be taken to safeguard, to a limited extent, how incriminating or privileged answers may be used in future proceedings.

If you have been served a notice to produce or a summons from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, contact Anderson Legal to safeguard your legal rights and interests. With significant experience in dealing with sensitive legal issues involving coercive powers, Andrew Anderson has the expertise and experience to provide you advice and guidance.

Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has investigative and coercive powers under sections 263 and 264 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth). Section 264 allows the Commissioner of Taxation to issue to any person a notice requiring them to provide such information as required, to attend and give evidence concerning their own or another person’s income or assessment, and to produce books, documents and other papers in their custody or control.

The power given to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is broad. It may, for example, allow the Commissioner of Taxation to ask for an accountant’s client list: McCormack v Commissioner of Taxation (2001) 114 FCR 574. Courts have determined that certain privileges and confidentiality obligations will not necessarily invalidate a notice served under section 264 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth). There are serious consequences for non-compliance with a valid notice.

If you have been served a notice to produce documents or books pursuant to section 264 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth), or are required to attend to give evidence at a hearing, contact Anderson Legal for expert advice and representation. Andrew Anderson is independently recommended as a leading white-collar crime, corporate crime and regulatory investigations lawyer in Australia.

Australian Building & Construction Commission

The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) has powers to compel people to provide information that cannot be obtained voluntarily. Upon the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner believing, on reasonable grounds, that a person has information or documents relevant to an investigation, or is capable of giving relevant evidence, the person may be required to:

  • attend and answer questions at an examination
  • provide information
  • produce documents

The Australian Building and Construction Commission may only use its coercive examination powers with respect to building industry participants who are suspected of breaching a specified law, award, workplace agreement, standard, or instrument.

A person subject to the coercive powers of the Australian Building and Construction Commission will be provided a written notice setting out what is required from them. It is possible for people served with a notice to seek legal advice to understand how to protect their rights and interests, as well as comply with the legal requirements of the notice. Failure to comply with a valid notice to produce documents or attend an examination is an offence punishable by imprisonment or a fine.

If you have been served a notice to produce documents or attend to give evidence in an examination before the Australian Building and Construction Commission, contact Anderson Legal for advice and representation.

Crime & Corruption Commission (CCC)

The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) is an independent agency that has responsibility for combating major crime and corruption in Queensland. It has powers of surveillance, investigation and the use of coercive powers to gather intelligence, undertake investigations and manage enforcement proceedings.

The powers given to the CCC, particularly with respect to its coercive powers, are extensive and far-reaching. Traditional protections, such as the right to refuse to answer questions on the basis of the privilege against self-incrimination are significantly curtailed, as is the right to silence more broadly. Given the highly secretive nature of CCC operations, as well as the broad scope of its powers, the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee (PCCC) has a role under the Crime and Corruption Act 2001 to monitor and review the performance of its operations. Such oversight is designed to provides some balance against the abuse or misuse of its extensive powers.

Notice to Discover (Corruption Investigation)

A person or corporate entity may be served with a notice to discover that essentially requires them to provide information, or produce a document or thing in their possession. Under section 75 of the Crime and Corruption Act 2001, the CCC has the power to compel such information provided there is a reasonable suspicion such information, documents or things are known by, or in the possession of, the person or corporate entity served with the notice to discover. Orders of this kind may be made in circumstances where the CCC considers the information, documents or things will not be volunteered to investigators. There are limited exceptions and privileges recognised as being reasonable excuses for failing to comply with a notice to produce.

Notice to Attend (Compulsory Hearing)

The CCC may issue a person with a notice to attend a compulsory hearing pursuant to section 82 of the Crime and Corruption Act 2001. The order may be in relation to a crime investigation or a corruption investigation, a witness protection function hearing, or for an intelligence function hearing. A person required to attend for one of these hearings is generally required to answer the questions asked, even if the answers may tend to incriminate them. While steps can be taken to protect the legal rights and interests of someone called to a compulsory hearing, there are significant responsibilities placed on a person served with a notice to attend, including with respect to confidentiality and other compliance issues.

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has power under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) to compulsorily require individuals to provide information, documents and evidence to it. Under section 155 of the Competition and Consumer Act, information, documents and evidence may be obtained in relation to a range of matters, including:

  • matters that may constitute a contravention of the Competition and Consumer Act
  • matters relevant to an investigation relating to possible unfair terms of consumer or small business contracts
  • contraventions of undertakings
  • merger authorisations or other notification functions of the ACCC

A person required to provide information, documents or evidence to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) must comply, as serious penalties arise for non-compliance. If you have been served a notice pursuant to section 155 of the Competition and Consumer Act, contact Anderson Legal for advice and representation.

Fair Work Ombudsman

The Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has powers to monitor and enforcement compliance with the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). In performing its functions, the Fair Work Ombudsman has coercive information-gathering powers that enable it to compel individuals and corporate entities to provide information and documents to it.

A Fair Work Inspector has the power to:

  • enter upon premises and undertake specidied activities (see sections 708 and 709 Fair Work Act 2009)
  • require a person to provide their name and address (see section 711 Fair Work Act 2009)
  • require a person to produce a record or document and seize it (see sections 712 and 714 Fair Work Act 2009)
  • issue compliance notices (see section 716 Fair Work Act 2009)

A person is not excused from producing a record or document that may be requested by a Fair Work Inspector on the ground that the production of the record or document might tend to incriminate the person or expose the person to a penalty. However, if a person is compelled to produce a record or document, it is inadmissible in evidence against that individual in criminal proceedings. Also, evidence obtained as a direct or indirect consequence of the record or document being produced falls into the same category.

The powers of a Fair Work Inspector may be applied to an employer or an employee alike. Anybody who is subject to an investigation by the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) ought to obtain legal advice to protect their rights and interests. If you need advice and representation, contact Andrew Anderson. As a lawyer who is independently recommended as among the leading white-collar crime, corporate crime and regulatory investigations lawyers in Australia, he has the expertise and experience to assist you with your legal issue.

Commonwealth Integrity Commission (CIC)

The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) currently has the power to investigate corruption issues involving law enforcement officers and agencies among certain government departments and agencies. The Commonwealth Attorney-General has announced that the ACLEI will be subsumed by a newly-created Commonwealth Integrity Commission (CIC).

The proposed Commonwealth Integrity Commission (CIC) will be a centralised agency with the power to investigate criminality and corruption in the public sector. The Commonwealth Integrity Commission will have the following powers:

  • compelling people to give sworn evidence at hearings
  • compelling people to provide information and produce documents (even if the information would incriminate them)
  • searching people and their houses, or seizing property under warrant
  • arresting people
  • tapping phones and using other surveillance devices
  • confiscating passports by court order

The Commonwealth Integrity Commission (CIC) is proposed to have two divisions:

  • Law enforcement integrity division
  • Public sector integrity division

Law Enforcement Integrity Division

The law enforcement integrity division will have powers and responsibilities over the following law enforcement and public sector agencies:

  • Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission
  • Australian Federal Police
  • Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre
  • Department of Home Affairs
  • Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment
  • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
  • Australian Prudential Regulation Authority
  • Australian Securities and Investments Commission
  • Australian Taxation Office

Public Sector Integrity Division

The public sector integrity division is proposed to have powers and responsibilities over the following areas of the public sector:

  • Public service departments and agencies
  • Parliamentary departments and statutory agencies
  • Commonwealth companies
  • Higher education providers and research bodies receiving funding from the Commonwealth
  • Commonwealth service providers and subcontractors
  • Members of Parliament and their staff

Until the  Commonwealth Integrity Commission Bill and the Integrity and Anti-Corruption Legislation Amendment (CIC Establishment and Other Measures) Bill are passed, the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) will continue with its current powers, which are more confined than the proposed Commonwealth Integrity Commission (CIC).

Work Health & Safety Queensland

Inspectors with Work Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) have powers that allows them to compel people to provide information and access to documents and other records, which they may seize. They may also compel people to answer their questions.

A person required to provide documents or answer questions is not excused from doing so on the ground that the answer to the question, or the information or document, may tend to incriminate the person or expose the person to a penalty. However, the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) does state that the answer to a question or information or a document provided by an individual, and other evidence directly or indirectly derived from the answer, information or document, is not admissible as evidence against that individual in civil or criminal proceedings other than proceedings arising out of the false or misleading nature of the answer, information or document.

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) recognises the legitimate interest a person may have in seeking legal advice when subject to an investigation by Work Health and Safety Queensland. If there has been a workplace injury or some other issue requiring an urgent incident response, contact Andrew Anderson for expert advice and representation.


Civil & Criminal Liability

Contraventions of the law can give rise to either civil or criminal consequences. In Australia, there is widespread use of civil penalty provisions to enforce regulatory compliance, which often operates as an alternative to criminal charges and proceedings. The way that both civil proceedings and criminal charges may resolve may be different for a corporation than it is for a person. Understanding the different ways investigations or allegations may be resolved is critical to understanding your rights and legal options.

Corporations: Criminal Cases

Generally, criminal offences apply to corporations as they apply to individuals, given corporations are recognised as ‘juristic entities’ in Australia. One of tensions in attributing criminal responsibility to a corporation is it may leave individuals free of the consequences of their actions taken on behalf of a corporate entity. As was found in the Corporate Criminal Responsibility Report published by the Australian Law Reform Commission in 2020, this tension has resulted in the following:

  • Corporate regulators have demonstrated a preference for pursuing civil penalty proceedings rather than criminal prosecutions.
  • Corporate regulators have demonstrated a preparedness to settle or negotiate cases, such as through enforceable undertakings and other civil remedies.
  • Corporate regulators are more likely to pursue individuals for criminal offences than corporations.

While individuals may be more commonly charged with corporate crimes than corporations, corporate entities still regularly face criminal prosecutions for contraventions of the law.

An important reason for corporations to be criminal responsible is that, through actions and processes, fault may only be properly characterised as ‘corporate’ in reality and less amenable to isolating actions to some individuals and not others.

The notion of fault and moral blameworthiness can sometimes lead to a conflict between the interests of individuals connected to the corporation, and the corporation itself. For this reason, during investigations, it may be advisable for executives and employees to obtain independent legal advice distinct from advice given to the corporate entity. For example, it may be in the best interests of an individual to cooperate with a corporate regulator even though it may not align with the interests of the corporate entity.

If you are or an entity you control is subject to an investigation or prosecution by a corporate regulator, contact Andrew Anderson for independent advice and guidance.

Whistleblower Protections

Corporate Whistleblowers

On 1 July 2019, the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Act 2019 (Cth) commenced, creating significant protections for whistleblowers with respect to a range of entities regulated under the Corporations Act 2001. A protected disclosure relates to “misconduct or an improper state of affairs or circumstances” and there are strict conditions as to who will qualify as a ‘whistleblower’ and the manner in which any complaints or allegations of misconduct or other impropriety are made.

Commonwealth Public Sector

Whistleblowers within the Commonwealth public service (such as those within agencies, departments or independent bodies) are protected under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013. A ‘public interest disclosure’ (PID) may relate to (but is not limited to) contraventions of the law, corruption, maladministration, abuses of trust, or conduct harmful to health, safety or the environment

There are serious consequences for causing detriment to a whistleblower because of a public interest disclosure made that is protected by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013.

Queensland Public Sector

In Queensland, whistleblowers who make disclosures about wrongdoing in the public sector are protected under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010. Disclosures will only be protected in the following circumstances:

  • The disclosure relates to public interest information about serious wrongdoing or dangerous conduct.
  • It is appropriately disclosed.
  • The disclosure is made to a proper authority.

If a person makes a public interest disclosure consistently with the Public Interest Disclosure Act, they are protected as a whistleblower. Contraventions of the law can carry serious consequences for individuals who take reprisal action against a whistleblower.