Sam Stein QC
“Get a top inquiries barrister on your side from day 1”
Inquiries are highly specialised areas of law, because very few public inquiries are actually called. In these fact finding cases, it is usually one or more public bodies that come under scrutiny, and they are normally called by Ministers following a considerable amount of public pressure. Some of the better known inquiries include the Leveson Inquiry into press practices and the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry to determine whether there were any failings on the part of the Metropolitan Police following the murder of young Stephen Lawrence.
The nature of these inquiries is such that they garner a lot of attention from the media and the public, and the inquiry itself will typically involve a lot of technical information as well as some controversial subject matter, and information that might be considered upsetting to some of those that have brought the inquiry to bear.
An inquiry is not a criminal investigation, but a fact finding case. This means that the outcome will not lead to a guilty or not guilty verdict, but civil and legal action may be taken as a result of the inquiry findings. For this reason, it can be extremely important to ensure that you have a strong and experienced legal team working on your behalf. The nature of inquiries means that many lawyers and legal teams may be working on the same inquiry and at the same time.
There are many reasons why an inquiry may be deemed necessary. Typically, however, the aim of such an investigation is to determine the course of action taken by a public body, to ascertain whether there were any failings on the part of that public body, and whether any improvements could be made to help ensure that the same thing does not happen in the future.
Whether you are acting alone or are one of several interest parties, and whether your inquiry is being brought against the police or another authority or public body, you should have suitable legal representation to help ensure that all the relevant information and facts are uncovered. Your legal team will help ensure that the right questions are asked and that any failings are uncovered.
© 2014 Sam Stein QC