House of Commons Library

The Inquiries Act 2005

Published Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A briefing paper explaining the Inquiries Act 2005, issues arising from the holding of statutory public inquiries, and notes on statutory inquiries that are currently open.

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This briefing examines statutory public inquiries held under the Inquiries Act 2005. It sets out details of current inquiries being held under the Act and analyses the procedural issues facing inquiries.

The principal advantages of statutory inquiries are that they provide legal powers to compel witnesses to give evidence, provide legal safeguards, and can set limits upon the Government’s discretionary control of an inquiry. Inquiries also involve decisions about the role of the Chair and any panel, core participants, witness anonymity, publication of findings, and following up of any recommendations made.

Statutory inquiries are not the only option open to the Government: they may establish a non-statutory inquiry, a Royal Commission or a departmental inquiry. Further information on non-statutory inquiries can be found in the House of Commons Library Briefing Public Inquiries: non-statutory commissions of inquiry.

Commons Briefing papers SN06410

Authors: Mark Sandford; Jack Simson Caird

Topics: Central government, Emergencies and disaster management, Public administration, Public inquiries

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