LORDS

Inquiries – the Minister’s view

11 December 2013

The Committee into the Inquiries Act 2005 took evidence from the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice.

The Committee asked Shailesh Vara MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, Minister for Courts and Legal Aid, to comment on issues surrounding the setting up of inquiries.

Witnesses

At approximately 10.40am, Wednesday 11 December 2013, Committee Room 4, Palace of Westminster

  • Shailesh Vara MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, Minister for Courts and Legal Aid
  • Richard Mason, Deputy Director, Ministry of Justice
  • Judith Bernstein, Head of the Coroners, Burials, Cremation and Inquiries Policy Team at the Ministry of Justice 

Purpose of the Session

The Committee quizzed the Minister on when it is right for an Inquiry to be held, and how it is decided whether it should be statutory or non- statutory. They also asked:-

  • What criteria do ministers apply in deciding whether to hold a public inquiry in any particular circumstances?
  • Does this Government intend to retain the option of setting up non-statutory inquiries?
  • Are there any criteria or guidance used for the selection of inquiry chairs?
  • Where an inquiry is set up following a public campaign, would it not be helpful to consult leaders of that campaign about the draft terms of reference?
  • Should a unit in the Ministry of Justice be responsible for retaining and sharing best practice with regard to the setting up and administration of new inquiries?
  • What more could the Government do to persuade the public that it is giving full consideration to an inquiry’s recommendations?

Further Information


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