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Barrister, Richard Beasley Talks About Writing As Moral Therapy

He's a leading Sydney Barrister, more recently known as Senior Counsel Counsel Assisting the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Ruby Princess but he is also an established fiction writer and author of five novels. On the eve of the next hearing into the 2020 Workers Compensation Scheme we thought it be interesting to invite Richard to join our In The Spirit of Things Conversations to discuss his fictional novel, Hell Has Harbour Views.

Richard originally practiced law as a solicitor specialising in personal injury and workers compensation so his interest in telling a fictional tale he says, was part moral therapy and part just because he wanted to write. He said he found some of the work morally troubling and moved out of the area over time.

Nevertheless it provided him with excellent research into how insurance companies treat the sick and injured, although he says it was some time ago and hopefully things have improved.

Richard originally began writing his first legal crime novel in 1996, which morphed into a comedy called Hell Has Harbour Views. Hell was published by Pan Macmillan in 2001. Hell is the story of a corrupt law firm full of greedy, dishonest, over-charging and adulterous lawyers, and one honest lawyer’s struggle to save himself and bring the firm down.

There have always been rumours it was based on a true story, something the author vehemently denies. Hell was produced as a telemovie by the ABC (with Hilton Cordell Productions) in 2005. It starred Matt Day and Lisa McCune, and was written and directed by Peter Duncan (Rake).

About Richard Beasley

Richard Beasley SC came to the Bar in 1997, and was appointed silk in 2011. He has conducted cases and advised on matters involving major administrative law, planning and environmental issues (such as Barangaroo, Allianz stadium and numerous mine approvals), and land acquisition matters. He has also appeared in a wide range of commercial, contract and valuation matters.

Richard has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in Australia in the fields of Government Practice (2020, 2021), and Planning and Environmental Law (2019, 2020, 2021).

From April to August 2020, Richard was Senior Counsel Assisting the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Ruby Princess.

From January 2018 to February 2019, Richard was Senior Counsel Assisting the Murray Darling Basin Royal Commission. In June 2018 he was appointed by the NSW Minister for Local Government as Commissioner to the Blue Mountains Public Inquiry. In 2016 he was Commissioner for the Auburn City Council Public Inquiry.

In July 2016 Richard was appointed as the Principal Member of the Racing Appeal Panel by Racing NSW, and was reappointed for a further two year term in July 2018.

Outside of the law, Richard is the author of five novels: Hell Has Harbour Views (2001, Pan Macmillan). Hell was adapted as a telemovie on ABC TV in 2005. Hell was followed by The Ambulance Chaser (2004, Pan Macmillan); Me and Rory Macbeath (2013, Hachette); Cyanide Games (2016, Simon & Schuster and Audible) and The Burden of Lies (2017, Simon & Schuster and Audible). His author website is

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