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UK Public Inquiries

A public inquiry can be a daunting process. Issues can often be complex and sensitive. Our highly skilled, experienced team can assist you with conducting this delicate and complex process.  

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What are Public Inquiries?

A public inquiry may be convened by  Government to address an area of public concern. In recent years, high profile public inquiries have generated a great deal of media coverage and significant interest from the public. Conducting yourself through an inquiry requires resource, both time and effort, but also a determination to act with integrity. 

There are two types of Public Inquiry in which you may become involved:

Statutory inquiries are more formal and have powers to obtain documents and compel witnesses to give evidence. However, both types of Public Inquiries are established to investigate and review in detail, events which involve a matter of public concern.

Each public inquiry will have its own terms of reference, which will set out why the inquiry has been set up and what it is investigating. The overall purpose of every public inquiry is to provide an impartial view of what has happened, to identify any failings which may have occurred, and to make recommendations for the future.

Public inquiries are chaired by an experienced professional, who is often a serving or retired judge. Some inquiries also have a panel of members, who bring relevant experience to support the inquiry Chair. The public inquiry will collect and review documentary evidence including witness statements, and may hold private or public hearings to hear oral submissions and oral evidence from witnesses. Increasingly evidence is being heard very much in the public eye being live streamed through YouTube. 

Those who may become involved in a public inquiry include individuals (victims/survivors or their relatives), professionals, senior executives, public officials, charities, public sector bodies and businesses.

The final stage of a public inquiry is the publication of the inquiry report. This sets out details of the evidence which the inquiry has reviewed, what conclusions it has reached - which often includes criticisms of individuals and organisations, and what recommendations the inquiry is making. The intention is to prevent similar issues from happening again.

How might you become involved in a public inquiry?

There are a number of ways you may become involved in a public inquiry. Participation may be voluntary, because you want to participate and are responding to a call for evidence, or it may be because you have received a formal request for evidence from an inquiry and you need to respond. Whatever the reason, we have professional and dedicated solicitors who can guide you through the process.

How we can help

Advice and support from experienced solicitors

We have experience advising those lawyers and panel members who are conducting the public inquiries themselves as well as representing individuals and organisations who are taking part in a public inquiry, whether as a designated core participant or as a witness.

Our expertise

We help clients with the following aspects of the inquiry process:

Every inquiry is unique, so the needs of clients or inquiries will never be the same. We work collaboratively to provide a seamless and tailored service to each and every client to meet their individual needs, advance forward the inquiry and protect their interests.

Whether your involvement in a Public Inquiry is voluntary or not, we understand that it can be daunting and that you need specialist advice to support and guide you through the process, either as an individual, or on behalf of an organisation. 

Recent public inquiries

In recent years, we've helped clients contribute to the following high-profile public inquiries:

Helping you review and provide timely information within inquiry deadlines.

One of the most complex, time-consuming parts of the inquiry process can be the amount of information you need to review and understand, as well as that which you need to provide to the inquiry. Our Managed Document Review service helps streamline the process for you, by making good use of technology, without compromising on accuracy or attention to detail.

Features include:

Our use of technology makes the inquiry process more effective and efficient. By working this way, we don't take shortcuts but we do ensure that the time of the legal experts you work with is focused on the right areas, to make the best possible use of the time allowed to prepare for the inquiry. The process is led by lawyers, supported by technology.

If you'd like to discuss any aspect of the UK Public Inquiries process, contact us to find out more about how we can help you.

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