Goodbye job applications, hello dream career
Seize control of your career and design the future you deserve with LW career

Former High Court judge named special investigator post-Lawyer X inquiry

A former justice of the High Court of Australia is set to consider whether criminal or disciplinary charges are warranted in response to the matters uncovered by the Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 30 June 2021 Big Law
Former High Court judge named special investigator post-Lawyer X inquiry
expand image

The Andrews government in Victoria has named former judge of the High Court, Justice Geoffrey Nettle AC QC (pictured), as special investigator, with responsibility for determining the need for charges in the wake of the findings from the Lawyer X royal commission.

The news follows the introduction one week ago of legislation to the Victorian Parliament to ensure recommendations coming out of that inquiry are delivered effectively with the powers of an independent implementation monitor.

The appointment, the state government said, is “another important step forward in restoring confidence in the justice system”.


As recommended by the royal commission, Mr Nettle – in his capacity as special investigator – will be tasked with thoroughly investigating potential criminal conduct or misconduct of Nicola Gobbo and/or relevant current and former Victoria Police officers, and any disciplinary breaches by Victoria Police officers.

In the recent Victorian budget 2021-22, in which the state pledged over $700 million for its justice system, including $210 million for the courts, it was announced that $88 million would go to supporting the work of the special investigator.

Victorian Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes proclaimed: “We’re getting on with the work of restoring the integrity of the justice system by implementing the Royal Commission’s recommendations – ensuring our justice system has Victorians’ confidence and trust.

“Justice Nettle’s extensive and wide-ranging experience at the highest levels of the legal system will ensure a comprehensive, independent and fair investigation is completed into these matters.” 

The former judge brings more than 45 years of legal experience to his new post, having sat as both a trial and appellate judge in the Victorian Supreme Court and Court of Appeal before serving over five years as a justice of the High court.

“This distinguished career stands Justice Nettle in excellent stead to take on the complex and important role of special investigator,” A-G Symes’ department said in a statement.

Moving forward, the state government will introduce legislation later this year to provide Mr Nettle with “all necessary powers” to undertake his new role, in accordance with the recommendations from the Lawyer X inquiry.

The announcement of his new role, the government said, will allow the former judge to begin the “crucial preparatory work” for the investigations that are to follow once the aforementioned legislation passes. He will commence in the role from 19 July 2021.