Lords to quiz Ministry of Justice officials on the effectiveness of the Inquiries Act 2005

20 June 2013

Officials from the Ministry of Justice will give evidence to a Lords committee on Tuesday June 25 as part of its investigation into public inquiries.

The House of Lords Select Committee on the Inquiries Act 2005 is investigating whether the Act is an adequate framework for public inquiries and whether public inquiries are fit for purpose, sufficiently thorough and cost-effective.

In its first evidence session of the inquiry, the committee will take evidence from Judith Bernstein, Head of the Coroners, Burials, Cremation and Inquiries Policy Team at the Ministry of Justice, and other officials.

They will be asked to explain the background to the Act and the policy behind it, and to say whether it has improved the law and practice governing public inquiries, and whether further changes would help.

The witnesses will in particular be asked:

  • Is it right that ministers should have the power to set up, or not to set up, an inquiry?
  • What criteria are used by ministers to decide when requests for public inquiries should be granted (bearing in mind that none has been set up under the Act since Leveson in July 2011)?
  • Has the Inquiries Act 2005 succeeded in making inquiries less drawn-out and less costly?
  • Have levels of public confidence in the inquiries process improved since the Act?

The evidence session will take place at 10.40, June 25 in Committee Room 4a of the House of Lords.

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