- Mark ElliottMark ElliottProfessor of Public Law, University of Cambridge
- and Robert ThomasRobert ThomasProfessor of Public Law, University of Manchester
This chapter, which examines the nature, function, and legal framework of inquiries, also discusses the inquiry process and the effectiveness of inquiries. Inquiries have been widely criticised due to their chequered history—one that has been characterised by lengthy proceedings, high costs, and reports which have sometimes met with public dissension over the correctness of the conclusions reached or indifference from the government. They are also accused of being susceptible to manipulation by the government for its own political ends. Nevertheless, inquiries are an important mechanism for undertaking a detailed investigation into an issue of public concern and for holding government accountable.