Catherine Whitby

Norton Rose Fulbright Australia

Catherine Whitby

Catherine Whitby


Related services and key industries


Catherine Whitby is a recognised public and administrative lawyer based in Canberra.

Catherine has experience both as an in-house government lawyer as well as external advisor in top tier firms, and encompasses the areas of statutory interpretation and drafting, privacy and data protection, probity, procurement, government and regulatory law.

She has a particular focus on the health and social care sector, developed in both her legal roles and as a representative on a range of health professional bodies.

Catherine has a thorough understanding of all levels and arms of government, having worked as a lawyer for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, as a Ministerial Adviser for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, as the inaugural Director (Legal/Policy), for the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority and as a Principal Lawyer for the Department of Health. Catherine's clients, in her previous private sector roles, have included the Department of Health, Department of Human Services, Department of Education and Training, National Disability Insurance Agency, Department of Finance and Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Professional experience

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  • Certificate IV in Government Investigations (2018)
  • Master of Science (Law and Accounting) (Merit), London School of Economics and Political Science (2002)
  • Bachelor of Laws (Hons I), Bond University (2001)
  • Bachelor of Arts (Journalism), Bond University (2001)
  • High Court of Australia 2015
  • Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory 2006
  • Supreme Court of Victoria 2004
  • Major Australian Government Department: Acting as the Department's chief adviser on the development, establishment and operation of a regulatory framework to enforce provisions of a key piece of portfolio legislation. Catherine was responsible for preparation of the Department's revised industry guidance on the interpretation and application of the legislation.
  • Major Australian Government Department: Advised the Department on transitional arrangements for the establishing population-based screening register including undertaking a review of program and project governance and preparing privacy-related documentation to support the operation of the register.
  • Australian Government Agency: Advising the Agency on its Commissioning Framework, one of the key components of its administrative scheme. This has involved provision of advice on structuring the Commissioning Framework and provision of advice on the design and establishment of the competitive grant process.

Other Government experience

  • Major Australian Government Department: Advising the Department on its investigation of providers subject to a complex regulatory scheme and provision of strategic advice in relation to related enforcement activities.
  • Major Australian Government Department: Undertaking a broad ranging review into a departmental division and its administration of a complex regulatory regime.
  • Major Australian Government Department: Drafting various sections of a Bill introduced in the House of Representatives in 2018.
  • Major Australian Government Department: Advising on, and drafting, further amendments to the payment scheme rules.
  • Major Australian Government Department: Acting as probity adviser to the Department in relation to an unsolicited proposal. This involved working jointly with the Department, its commercial adviser and legal adviser in developing a defensible process for evaluation of the single, unsolicited proposal, but which could be used in the event that further unsolicited proposals came to light.
  • Major Australian Government Department: Providing legal and probity advice to the Department on its procurement of a supplier to develop a digital platform. Catherine advised on the approach to the market, as well as the evaluation process, which was complicated by the inclusion of a supplier presentation element, as well as the need to ensure that the evaluation methodology allowed the Department to capture the views of key stakeholders while still preserving the integrity of the evaluation process.
  • Trans-Tasman Regulatory Agency: Reviewing and amending Application Handbook to ensure compliance with the Agency's legislative obligations.
  • Director, Tresillian, Royal Society for the Welfare of Mothers and Babies (April 2016 – present)
  • Member, Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators Accreditation Team, Australian Medical Council Limited (April 2018 —present)
  • Councillor,  Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Councils of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (March 2011 – November 2018)
  • Member, National Blood Authority Expert Advisory Group, Anti-D Guidelines (April 2017 – present)
  • Associate Fellow, Australasian College of Health Service Management (2018 – present)
  • Graduate, Australian Institute of Company Directors (2013 – present)