Bret Walker Murray Darling Basin Royal Commission fish kill
Bret Walker SC during the Murray Darling Basin Royal Commission (Image: AAP/Morgan Sette)

The NSW government has set Bret Walker SC, fresh from his victory in the High Court on behalf of George Pell, loose on the case of the Ruby Princess, with Premier Gladys Berejilklian announcing an inquiry with a reporting time of up to four months.

Berejiklian has said she wants a "powerful and independent" inquiry. She couldn't wait for NSW Police to complete its investigation, which it estimated would take around 12 months.

The premier's decision marks a let-the-cards-fall-where-they-may moment. Walker has a record for sharp and uncompromising legal inquiry.