HL Deb 18 June 1991 vol 530 cc14-6WA
Lord Windlesham

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many Royal Commissions have been appointed since 1959 to inquire into aspects of criminal justice (including the courts and the police); the terms of reference and names of the chairmen; and the dates on which they were appointed and their reports published.

Earl Ferrers

The information requested is as follows:

Royal commission Date established Chairman Terms of reference Date of report
Criminal Procedure 1978 Professor Sir Cyril Philips To examine, having regard both to the interests of the community in bringing offenders to justice and to the rights and liberties or persons suspected or accused of crime, and taking into account also the need for the efficient and economical use of resources, whether changes are needed in England and Wales in 1981
(i) the powers and duties of the police in respect of the investigation of criminal offences and the rights and duties of suspects and accused persons, including the means by which these are secured;
(ii) the process of and responsibility for the prosecution of criminal offences; and
(iii) such other features of criminal procedure and evidence as relate to the above; and to make recommendations.
Criminal Justice 1991 Viscount Runciman of Doxford To examine the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in England and Wales in securing the conviction of those guilty of criminal offences and the acquittal of those who are innocent, having regard to the efficient use of resources, and in particular to consider whether changes are needed in Not yet known
(i) the conduct of police investigations and their supervision by senior police officers, and in particular the degree of control that is exercised by those officers over the conduct of the investigation and the gathering and preparation of evidence;
(ii) the role of the prosecutor in supervising the gathering of evidence and deciding whether to proceed with a case, and the arrangements for the disclosure of material, including unused material, to the defence;
(iii) the role of experts in criminal proceedings, their responsibilities to the court, prosecution, and defence, and the relationship between the forensic science services and the police;
(iv) the arrangements for the defence of accused persons, access to legal advice, and access to expert evidence;
(v) the opportunities available for an accused person to state his position on the matters charged and the extent to which the courts might draw proper inferences from primary facts, the conduct of the accused, and any failure on his part to take advantage of an opportunity to state his position;
(vi) the powers of the courts in directing proceedings, the possibility of their having an investigative role both before and during the trial, and the role of pre-trial reviews; the courts' duty in considering evidence, including uncorroborated confession evidence;
(vii) the role of the Court of Appeal in considering new evidence on appeal, including directing the investigation of allegations;
(viii) the arrangements for considering and investigating allegations of miscarriages of justice when appeal rights have been exhausted.