Clive Anderson and guests ask if public inquiries are worth the huge investment of time and resources. Are judges the right people to spearhead these investigations?
Clive Anderson and guests ask if public inquiries are worth the huge investment of time and resources. Are judges, as establishment figures, the right people to spearhead these investigations?
Public inquiries are set up to uncover the truth following scandals or perceived injustices. They are designed to heal wounds through the rigorous, public airing of the issues and circumstances around controversial events. But they are also expensive and slow. The Bloody Sunday Inquiry took 12 years to report and cost £192m.
The Inquiries Act 2005 was intended to reduce the length and cost of inquiries, while maintaining the confidence of both the parties at the centre of the inquiry and the wider public. Has it been successful?
Clive's guests discuss whether judges are the right people to head inquiries. Their ability to hear evidence and reach judgements is not in dispute, but are they too much part of the establishment to be always truly independent?
Are the recommendations made by inquiries adequately implemented? In his 2,000 page report Sir Robert Francis QC made 290 recommendations. How many is too many?
And do inquiries really need lawyers to be involved at all?
Producer: Matt Willis
A 7digital production for BBC Radio 4.