Dr Ashley Tsacalos

Clayton Utz
Partner Sydney

Ashley’s vast experience in royal commissions and inquiries was invaluable to me as the special commission progressed… Ashley's commitment, responsiveness and strategic capacity is first class.

– Brent Hogan, Former CEO of Greyhound Racing NSW


Dr Ashley Tsacalos a leading adviser to government in the areas of dispute resolution, litigation and administrative law, as well as an expert in royal commissions and inquiries. He has been involved in 27 royal commissions, inquiries and inquests over the last 8 years – including 9 out of 10 Federal Royal Commissions. He is also a leading authority on the government’s "model litigant obligations".

Ashley has experience in all forms of dispute resolution, including litigation in various courts and tribunals. He is engaged by both the public and private sector due to his extensive experience in managing complex and often sensitive disputes. He has particular expertise in relation to contractual disputes, negligence claims and other tortious claims generally (such as misfeasance in public office) as well as applications for merits-based review and judicial review. He regularly provides advice in relation to procurement and tendering issues, governance and probity issues generally as well as risk allocation and insurance.

He has also earned a reputation as a "go to" person for royal commissions and inquiries as a result of his experience in acting for a range of individuals and organisations in Royal Commissions, Commissions of Inquiry, Judicial Inquiries and coronial inquiries. His reputation stems from his unique understanding of the nature of such inquiries as well as his meticulous and strategic approach combined with his prodigious work ethic. Ashley works tirelessly in his clients' interests and provides them with pragmatic and strategic advice. He has acted for a range of government departments and agencies (at Federal, State and Local levels), and private sector clients. He has extensive experience in contractual disputes, tort claims, judicial review, merits review, regulatory enforcement, public law, government information law and privacy, tendering issues, and insurance law from both an advisory and litigious perspective. Ashley is also the firm's NSW Government Client Relationship Partner.

Ashley shares his knowledge with clients in valuable workshops offered through the Clayton Utz Training Program.

Notable Work
  • Acted for Corrective Services NSW in relation to the Special Commission of Inquiry into circumstances surrounding the offences by Wayne Astill at Dillwynia Correctional Centre.
  • Acted for a Commonwealth Agency in the Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme.
  • Assisted Senator Reynolds in relation to the AFP investigation into allegations made by Ms Brittany Higgins that she was sexually assaulted in March 2019 by Mr Bruce Lehrmann and the subsequent criminal trial as well as the Board of Inquiry into the conduct of criminal justice agencies involved in the trial R v Lehrmann announced by the ACT Government on 1 February 2023 which was chaired by Mr Walter Sofronoff KC.
  • Acted for the Hon Scott Morrison MP in the Inquiry into the Appointment of the Former Prime Minister to Administer Multiple Departments.
  • Acted on behalf of the Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust (UCPT) in Federal Court proceedings against the UCPT's former professional liability insurer where the UCPT sought recovery of compensation it has made to Third Party Claimants arising from historical child sexual abuse revealed during the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
  • Royal Commissions and Inquiries: he has acted for the Port Authority of NSW in the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Ruby Princess; nbn in the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements;  a NSW government agency in the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug 'Ice'; a family in the Dreamworld Coronial Inquest; a major aged care operator in the Aged Care Royal Commission;  Aussie Home Loans in the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry (2018);  various NSW government agencies in the Sydney Stadia Parliamentary Inquiry (2018); RSL LifeCare in the Inquiry under the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991 (NSW) that was conducted by the Hon. P A Bergin SC (2017-18);  The Uniting Church in relation to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse investigating the Knox Grammar School (2014-2016); three officers of a corporation in relation to the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption (2015); and the former CEO of Greyhound Racing NSW in the Special Commission of Inquiry into Greyhound Racing in NSW (2015-16).
  • Ashley's expertise in administrative law and insurance law provides him with a unique perspective in terms of dispute resolution and litigation generally as well as royal commissions and inquiries. He has acted for numerous Australian government and NSW government departments and agencies. He is regularly engaged to provide advice on administrative law and public law issues, including freedom of information, privacy and administrator decision-making.
  • Ashley established and continues to teach a government law course and an insurance law course at the University of Wollongong where he has also been appointed an Honorary Professorial Fellow. He has previously taught insurance law at the University of Sydney, the University of Adelaide and the Australian National University as well as dispute resolution and civil procedure as well as corporations law at Western Sydney University. Ashley is a state editor of the LexisNexis publication: Privacy Law and a regular author of articles in this publication. In 2012, Ashley completed his PhD at the University of Sydney with a dissertation on appellate advocacy and constitutional law.
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