The ministerial power to set up a public inquiry: issues of transparency and accountability

Ireton, E. ORCID: 0000-0003-4106-1697, 2016. The ministerial power to set up a public inquiry: issues of transparency and accountability. Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, 67 (2), pp. 209-229. ISSN 0029-3105

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The Independent Panel Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was left in crisis following intense pressure from survivors and their families, the public and media. Two senior legal figures, Baroness Butler-Sloss and Fiona Woolf, both resigned from the position of chair to the inquiry following concerns over their links with the establishment. Questions were raised over the independence of a process convened by the Home Secretary, to investigate apparent failures on the part of institutions, which would include scrutinising the actions of a former Home Secretary in handling allegations of child sexual abuse in the past. Demands for an inquiry with greater statutory powers, including the power to compel the giving of evidence on oath, ultimately resulted in the Independent Panel being disbanded and a new public inquiry, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, being convened. Against the background of this and other inquiries, this article examines the serious questions raised about the powers of a minister to set up a public inquiry, the lack of open and transparent decision-making processes and the extent to which those ministerial decisions are open to public scrutiny and accountability.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly
Creators: Ireton, E.
Publisher: Queen's University Belfast
Date: August 2016
Volume: 67
Number: 2
ISSN: 0029-3105
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Law School
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 15 Sep 2016 08:09
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2017 15:13

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