The Practical Guide to Public Inquiries

The Practical Guide to Public Inquiries
Product ISBN: 9781509928347
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This practical guide provides legal practitioners, participants, witnesses and all those interested in the public inquiry process, stage-by-stage 'hands on' guidance to the process of public inquiries into matters of public concern.

With its user-friendly format of summaries, checklists, 'top tips' and flow charts, this book, the first practical guide to public inquiries, provides guidance from the setting up of a public inquiry through to its close. It includes information on:

  • the appointment of the chairman and inquiry team
  • the choice and significance of the venue
  • the drawing up of inquiry procedures, protocols and rulings
  • the appointment and role of core participants
  • evidence taking
  • conducting and attending hearings
  • the role of experts
  • the writing and publication of the inquiry report

Drawing on the authors' extensive experience as public inquiry lawyers, working on inquiries such as the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Inquiry, Leveson Inquiry and Grenfell Tower Inquiry, together with contributions from a number of other eminent practitioners in the field, this book provides valuable, comprehensive guidance on the public inquiry process

1. Public Inquiries
Introduction
What is a Public Inquiry?
The Role of a Public Inquiry
The Basis upon which an Inquiry may be Convened
The Challenges
Table of UK Public Inquiries Convened by a Minister
2. Appointments
Introduction
The Chair and Panel
Process of Appointing a Chair and Panel Members
Conflicts
Speed of the Appointment Process
Issues for the Chair on Appointment
Consultation and Focus on the Terms of Reference
Counsel to the Inquiry
Appointment of Counsel
Role of Counsel
Appointment of the Solicitor to the Inquiry
Appointment of the Secretary to the Inquiry
Role of the Secretary to the Inquiry
The Inquiry Team: Additional Considerations
The Role of the Sponsoring Department
3. Location and Venue
Introduction
Geographical Location
Choosing the Right Type of Premises
What to Expect from the Inquiry Premises
Separation of Certain Categories of Core Participants and Witnesses
Facilities for the Press and Broadcast Media
Venue Set-Up
4. IT Systems
Introduction
Cost and Effectiveness
The Inquiry's IT Systems
The Inquiry Management System
Potential Features of Inquiry Management Systems
The Document Management System
Potential Features of a Document Management System
Hearing Room Systems
Interactions between a Document Management System and a Hearing Room System
Possible Features of Hearing Room Systems
Transcription
The Inquiry's Website
Team Communications
Other IT Issues to Consider
Data Security and Storage
Ongoing Technical Support
Sending Documents to the Inquiry
5. Protocols, Rulings, Directions and Orders, and Engagement with the Media
Introduction
Protocols
Preparing and Publishing the Protocols
Examples of Inquiry Protocols
Common Issues to be Considered when Preparing Protocols
Internal Protocols and Working Practices
Rulings, Directions and Orders: Terminology
Engagement with the Media
6. Core Participants
What is a Core Participant or an Interested Party?
Who can be a Core Participant?
Applying for Core Participant Status
Challenging a Decision not to Designate Core Participant Status
Why be a Core Participant?
Advantages and Disadvantages
Recognised Legal Representatives
Joint Representation
Funding
A Good Working Relationship: Core Participants and the Inquiry
7. Funding
Introduction
The Approach to Expenses of Participants to a Public Inquiry
The Scope of Awards for Funding
Information that must be Included in an Application for Funding
Alternative Sources of Funding
Joint Representation
Publication of Costs of an Inquiry
8. Documentary Evidence
Introduction
Written Request for Documentary Evidence
Statutory Provisions and the Power to Require Disclosure
When Might an Inquiry Compel the Production of Documents?
Non-Statutory Inquiries
Timelines
Withholding Documents
Opposing a Section 21 Notice Requiring the Production of Documents
Admissibility
Advance Disclosure by the Inquiry
Advantages to Recipients of Advance Disclosure
Confidentiality and Advance Disclosure
Public Access to Documents
Redaction
Restriction Orders and Restriction Notices
9. Data Protection
Introduction
Public Inquiries, Individuals and Organisations as Data Controllers
Principles for Processing Personal Data
Lawful Basis for Processing Data
The Legitimate Interest Assessment (LIA) and Public Inquiries
Organisations Engaged by a Public Inquiry as Data Processors
Freedom of Information
Requests made of a Public Authority and Exemptions
10. Evidence Taking
Introduction
The Power to Require the Production of Evidence
Enforcement of a Section 21 Notice
When to Serve a Section 21 Notice?
Powers of Non-Statutory Inquiries
The Taking of Witness Statements
Preparing for a Witness Interview
The Witness Interview and Statement Preparation
Witness Support
Immunities
Privilege
Medical Evidence and Capacity
11. Oral Evidence and Hearings
Introduction
Procedure
Preliminary Hearings
Additional Procedural Hearings
Commencing the Inquiry's Substantive Hearings
General Structure of the Substantive Hearings
Giving Evidence to the Inquiry
Meeting with Witnesses in Advance of Giving Evidence?
The Order in Which Witnesses will be Called
Putting Written Statements into the Inquiry Record
The Role of Counsel to the Inquiry
Reviewing Evidence on a Rolling Basis
Questioning Witnesses
Suggesting Questions to Counsel to the Inquiry
Arguments for and against Limiting Questioning to Counsel to the Inquiry
Expertise of Core Participants and Interested Parties
Managing and Fielding Questions from Core Participants or Interested Parties
Time Pressure
Public Access and Restriction Notices and Orders
Examples of Restriction Orders and Notices Made
The Media and Hearings
Managing Private and Closed Hearings
12. Assessors, Seminars and Experts
Introduction
The Role of Assessors
Advantages and Disadvantages of Appointing Assessors or Advisers
Expert Witnesses
Advantages and Disadvantages of using Expert Witnesses
Seminars
Managing Seminars 7
13. Warning Letters and Rules 13, 14 and 15
Introduction
The Salmon Principles, Maxwellisation and the Evolution of Warning Letters
Optional and Mandatory Warning Letters
Practical Difficulties Associated with Serving Warning Letters before Evidence is Given
Are Warning Letters before Evidence is Given Necessary?
To Whom Will the Warning Letter be Sent?
What does a Warning Letter Contain?
Mandatory Warning Letters: What is an 'Explicit or Significant Criticism'?
What Happens aft er a Response is made to a Warning Letter?
Confidentiality
The Practical Steps to Preserve Confidentiality
Future of Rule 13?
14. Preparing and Publishing the Report
Introduction
What is Included in the Report? 1
Who Writes the Report?
Reviews and Checks
Number of Recommendations and Public Understanding
Publication, Withholding of Information and Laying before Parliament
Procedure for Publication of the Report
Advance Access to the Report and the Lock-in Procedure
Implementation
Challenging Decisions
15. Closing Down the Inquiry
Introduction
Document Retention and Archiving: Planning and Implementation
Lessons Learned