Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Lots of extra work for Judges

Have you noticed that lots of judges/QCs are being Coroners or chairing Public Inquires at the moment?

  • Sir William Gage is dealing with the Baha Mousa Inquiry
  • Sir Peter Gibson is going to make a start on the Torture Inquiry.
  • Dame Heather Hallett is doing the 7/7 Inquest
  • Judge Peter Thornton QC is going to be Assistant Deputy Coroner for Ian Tomlinson's Inquest.
  • Judge Baker QC finished the Potters Bar Inquest just before the Summer vacation.
  • Robert Francis QC is doing the Mid Staffs hospital inquiry
  • Sir Michael Redfern QC's Inquiry into human tissue use in the Nuclear industry reported today
The only judge/QC free zone is the Chilcot Inquiry - but that is another story......

1 comment:

  1. Judges and leading lawyers (usually QC rank) will nearly always be a natural choice to lead inquiries. The ability to handle a considerable volume of evidence is developed during a lengthy legal career.

    What is really interesting though is the large number of inquiries. Almost anything which goes wrong results in one being set up. Of the numerous inquiries held in recent years, many recommendations remain either not accepted by Ministers or remain unimplemented.

    I accept that there is respectable view that Chilcot should have been headed by a judge and should have had Counsel to the Inquiry etc. However, that does not mean that Chilcot is a waste of time. Far from it. Much has been revealed and it may yet be shown to be more effective than may appear to be the case at the moment. We should not be too wedded to adverarial-style inquiries with counsel everywhere and every witness insisting on legal representation. There are other models well worth using.

    Chilcot is not a court and neither would be any other form of inquiry. Thus, any statement as to the legality of the Iraq War will be perhaps unlikely. However, Chilcot has said that the opinions on this subject will be included with the report and a considerable number of opinions have been submitted. We also have, on the inquiry evidence, the opinion of Elizabeth Wilmshurst who resigned her position at the Foreign Office over the question of legality.