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Public Law

Public Law (3rd edn)

John Stanton and Craig Prescott
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date: 30 November 2023

p. 62417. Public inquirieslocked

p. 62417. Public inquirieslocked

  • John StantonJohn StantonSenior Lecturer in Law at The City Law School, City, University of London
  •  and Craig PrescottCraig PrescottLecturer in Law, Bangor University


This chapter outlines the role of public inquiries within the broader context of administrative justice. The focus of this chapter is ad hoc inquires established under the royal prerogative or the Inquiries Act 2005 to consider a matter of public concern. Such inquiries fulfil several purposes, and supplement other forms of accountability. The chapter then discusses the key features of public inquiries, including the importance of the terms of reference which establish the remit of the inquiry. The next important question is the choice of chair or panel, and in particular as to whether a senior judge should be used to chair the inquiry. There are some circumstances when the use of a judicial chair is perhaps less appropriate, including when the inquiry is likely to veer into matters of political controversy. Other considerations include whether inquiries should sit in private or public, and the impact of an inquiries report once it has been released to the public.

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