Royal Commission into the Protection and
Detention of Children in the Northern Territory

 Appointments of counsel assisting for the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory

26 August 2016

Today we are pleased to announce the appointments of Peter Callaghan SC and Tony McAvoy SC as Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory. These appointments were made by the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, on 24 August 2016.

Counsel Assisting plays a critical role in supporting the work of the Royal Commission. The Commissioners are confident the appointments of Mr Callaghan and Mr McAvoy will help ensure the Royal Commission has the highest quality legal expertise for its inquiry.

Senior Counsel Assisting Peter Callaghan SC was admitted as a Barrister in 1986. He has previously worked as a Crown Prosecutor for the Commonwealth, ACT and Queensland Directors of Public Prosecutions until 1995, and has been in practice at the Bar since then. Mr Callaghan was appointed as Senior Counsel in 2004. In 2011 he was appointed as Counsel Assisting in the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry. His other areas of practice include criminal law, appellate, administrative law, civil and human rights, discriminations, inquests, commissions of inquiry and statutory tribunals.

Senior Counsel Assisting Tony McAvoy SC was admitted as a Barrister of the Supreme Court of NSW in January 2000 and was appointed as Senior Counsel in September 2015. He is the first indigenous Australian to be appointed as Senior Counsel in any Australian state or territory. He has a strong native title practice and has appeared for claimants in numerous successful land claims. His areas of practice also include administrative law, human rights and discrimination law, coronial inquests and criminal law. Mr McAvoy was an Acting Part-Time Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court between 2011 and 2013.

Directions hearing

The Royal Commission will hold its first Directions hearing at 10am on 6 September 2016, at the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory in Darwin. The hearing will be conducted by Commissioner Margaret White AO and Commissioner Mick Gooda.

The Commissioners will shortly issue a practice direction, which will be made available on the Commission’s website.