Friday, June 2, 2017

Blom-Cooper on UK Public Inquiries

Louis Blom-Cooper QC has published Public Inquiries: Wrong Route on Bloody Sunday with  Hart Publishing. From the press:

Media of Public InquiriesThroughout the twentieth century, administrations have wrestled with allaying public concern over national disasters and social scandals. This book seeks to describe historically the use of public inquiries, and demonstrates why their methods continued to deploy until 1998 the ingrained habits of lawyers, particularly by issuing warning letters in order to safeguard witnesses who might be to blame. Under the influence of Lord Justice Salmon, the vital concern about systems and services allotted to social problems was relegated to the identification of individual blameworthiness. The book explains why the last inquiry under that system, into the events of 'Bloody Sunday' under Lord Saville's chairmanship, cost £200 million and took twelve and a half years (instead of two years). 'Never again', was the Government's muted cry as the method of investigating the public concern was eventually replaced by the Inquiries Act 2005, by common consent a good piece of legislation. The overriding principle of fairness to witnesses was confirmed by Parliament to those who are 'core participants' to the event, but with limited rights to participate. The public inquiry, the author asserts, is now publicly administered as a Commission of Inquiry, and is correctly regarded as a branch of public administration that focuses on the systemic question of what went wrong, as opposed to which individuals were to blame.

Here’s the Table of Contents:

Part I: Public Inquiries: Introduction
1. Concern for Scandals and Disasters
2. Early Beginnings: Corruption and Maladministration

Part II: The Principles of Public Inquiries
3. The Royal Commission on Tribunals of Inquiry 1966 (the Salmon Commission)
4. The Jurisprudence of Public Inquiries

Part III: Bloody Sunday; Second Time Around 1998–2010
5. The Wrong Turn in 1998: A Final Dose of Inappropriate Legalism
6. The Lapse of Time: Assessment of Evidence
7. The Unexplained Circumstances

Part IV: The Inquiries Act 2005
8. An Analysis of the Act of 2005: An Aspect of Public Administration
9. The Chairing of Commissions: Horses for Courses
10. Counsel to the Inquiry, Statutory and Non-statutory
11. Safeguards for Witnesses
12. Chilcot-Maxwellisation-Saville: The Problem of Delay
13. Model Inquiries: Hillsborough (1989) and Litvinenko (2015)

Part V: Final Thoughts
14. Conclusion
15. Postscript-Lessons Learned, or Another Wrong Turn?

You can read more about the book here.