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Encyclopedia > Public inquiry

In the politics and government of Commonwealth countries such as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, a public inquiry is an official review of events or actions ordered by the government. A public inquiry differs from more general inquiries or reviews in that evidence submitted to the inquiry is heard in a public environment. Interested members of the public and organisations may not only make (written) evidential submissions as is the case with most inquiries, but also listen to oral evidence given by other parties.


An inquiry is usually chaired by a well-known and well-respected member of the upper echelons of British society, such as judge, lord, professor or senior civil servant. The conclusions of the inquiry are delivered in the form of a written report, given first to Government, and soon after published to the public. The report will generally make recommendations to improve the quality of government or management of public organisations in the future. Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ...


Typical events for a public inquiry are those that cause multiple deaths, such as public transport crashes or mass murders.


Pressure groups and opposition parties are likely to ask for public inquiries for all manner of issues. The Government of the day typically only accedes to a fraction of these requests. Inquiries are requested not only for the genuine public good, but also in attempt to make the Government look bad - either by allowing the inquiry to go ahead and uncover mistakes by the Government or by making the Government refuse and leave the impression that they have something to hide. A public inquiry generally takes longer to report and costs more on account of its public nature. Thus when a government refuses a public inquiry on some topic, it is usually on these grounds.


Inquiries are governed under Section 1 of the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act of 1921. The chair of the inquiry is mandated by Parliament to carry out the inquiry by a Warrant of Appointment. The terms of reference of the inquiry are given as part of that warrant. 1921 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ...


List of selected British public inquiries

  • Fraser Inquiry into the construction of the late and overbudget Scottish Parliament Building. Reported September 15, 2004.
  • Hutton Inquiry - an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the suicide of weapons of mass destruction expert David Kelly. Chaired by Lord Hutton of Bresagh, announced August 2003. Inquiry began September 2003. Reported January 2004.
  • Shipman Inquiry - an investigation into the issues surrounding the case of mass murderer Harold Shipman. Chaired by Dame Janet Smith. Announced September 2000. Inquiry began February 2001. First report July 2002.
  • Cullen Inquiry - an investigation into the shootings at Dunblane Primary School by Thomas Hamilton on 13 March 1996. Chaired by Lord Douglas Cullen. Announced March 1996. Reported September 1996.
  • Dunblane Inquiry Whitewash - http://dunblane.eu.com - a pseudo-inquiry into the events before during and after the Dunblane Massacre of 13 March 1996.
  • The Bristol Inquiry - an investigation into children's heart surgery carried out at the Bristol Royal Infirmary Hospital between 1984 and 1995. Chaired by Professor Ian Kennedy. First met October 1998. Reported July 2001. Cha
  • Laming Inquiry - an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Victoria Climbié. Chaired by Lord Laming. Reported January 2003.
  • Ladbroke Grove Rail Inquiry - an investigation into the rail crash outside Paddington in October 1999. Chaired by Lord Cullen. First part reported July 2000. Joint inquiry into Ladbroke Grove and Southall crashes began September 2000, reported December 2000.
  • Aberfan disaster inquiry - an investigation into what caused a tip of coal waste to slide into Aberfan village, killing 144 on October 21, 1966. The Inquiry represents something of a watershed, particularly into inquiries related to coal-mining disasters. Prior inquiries are usually described by historians as whitewashes. This inquiry openly and damningly blamed the disaster on the National Coal Board. Chaired by Sir Herbert Edmund Davies. Opened October 1966. Reported August 1967.

The construction of Enric Miralles elaborate new Scottish Parliament Building adjacent to Holyrood park. ... The construction of Enric Miralles elaborate new Scottish Parliament Building adjacent to Holyrood park. ... Lord Hutton led the inquiry that concluded that Dr. David Kelly had taken his own life. ... Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) are weapons designed to kill large numbers of people, typically targeting civilians and military personnel alike. ... Dr. David Christopher Kelly CMG (May 17, 1944 – July 17, 2003) was an employee of the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), an expert in biological warfare, and a former United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq. ... Lord Hutton James Brian Edward Hutton, Baron Hutton, PC (born 29 June 1932), is a former British Law Lord. ... Dr. Harold Shipman Harold Frederick (Fred) Shipman (January 14, 1946 – January 13, 2004) was a British general practitioner who was convicted of murdering 15 medical patients and is believed to have killed hundreds more, making him the most prolific serial killer in British history. ... The Dunblane massacre occurred at a primary school in the small town of Dunblane in Scotland. ... Thomas Hamilton Thomas Hamilton (1952-1996), Scottish spree killer at Dunblane, Scotland was 43 years old when he committed the Dunblane massacre, the spree killing of 16 small children and a teacher in a primary school, and subsequently committing suicide. ... Adjo Victoria Climbié (Saturday, November 2, 1991 - Friday, February 25, 2000), better known as Anna Climbié or Victoria Climbié was born in Abobo near Abidjan, Côte dIvoire, and aged seven was sent by her parents to Europe with her great-aunt Marie Thérèse Kouao for a... The Ladbroke Grove rail crash was a British rail accident on 5 October 1999 in which thirty-one people died. ... The Ladbroke Grove rail crash was a British rail accident on 5 October 1999 in which thirty-one people died. ... The Southall rail crash occurred on September 19, 1997, on the Great Western Railway line at Southall, west London. ... Aberfan (in Welsh the f is pronounced like an v in standard English) is a small village 5 miles (8 km) south of Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales. ... The National Coal Board (NCB) was the nationalised British coal mining company. ...

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Public inquiry - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (570 words)
An inquiry is usually chaired by a well-known and well-respected member of the upper echelons of British society, such as judge, lord, professor or senior civil servant.
Inquiries are requested not only for the genuine public good, but also in attempt to make the Government look bad - either by allowing the inquiry to go ahead and uncover mistakes by the Government or by making the Government refuse and leave the impression that they have something to hide.
Inquiries are governed under Section 1 of the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act of 1921.
Families of British army recruits demand public inquiry into their deaths (543 words)
But they recommended a broader inquiry at Deepcut and other army bases after their inquiry revealed there had been around 75 "untimely deaths involving firearms or munitions" in the British army between 1991 and 2001, 60 of which had led to suicide or open verdicts.
He was referring to the inquiry by judge Lord Brian Hutton into the death of British weapons expert David Kelly, who committed suicide after being named as the source for a BBC report that the government "sexed up" an intelligence dossier to bolster its case for going to war against Iraq.
The families' request for a public inquiry is backed by around a quarter of the British parliament, according to the BBC.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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