Former inquiry chairmen to give evidence to Lords Committee investigating Inquiries Act 2005

28 October 2013


Five former chairmen of public inquiries will be giving evidence this Wednesday 30 October to the House of Lords Committee on the Inquiries Act 2005

The Committee is investigating how well the Act ensures that public inquiries are carried out as effectively and thoroughly as possible.

Lord Cullen, who conducted inquiries into the Piper Alpha oil platform disaster, the Dunblane Massacre and the Ladbroke Grove rail crash, and Lord Gill, who chaired the ICL Inquiry into the 2004 industrial explosion in Glasgow in which nine people died, will be the first to give evidence.

They will be asked their views on how inquiries implemented under the 2005 Act compare to those conducted prior to the Act.

Later in the session the Lords will hear from Sir Robert Francis QC, who conducted two inquiries into the Stafford Hospitals, one statutory and the other non-statutory, Sir Ian Kennedy, who led the inquiry into baby deaths at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, and Lord Bichard, who conducted the inquiry into the Soham murders.

They will be asked if they believe that non-statutory inquiries wield sufficient powers compared to statutory ones.

All five witnesses will be asked a range of questions on subjects including:
The criteria ministers should apply in deciding whether or not a judge should chair an inquiry; how generally the appointment process could be improved; whether a chairman should act alone; changes that might be needed to shorten the hearing and lessen the expense involved; and the circumstances, if any, in which the chairman should be involved in the implementation of the inquiry’s recommendations. 

The evidence sessions will start at 10.10 am on Wednesday 30 October in Committee Room 4 of the House of Lords.

The session will be webcast at www.parliamentlive.tv and is also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament’s Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

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