HL Deb 21 November 1996 vol 575 cc149-50WA
Lord Orr-Ewing

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When they will respond to the recommendations made by Sir Richard Scott concerning inquiry procedures.

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern)

In February this year I invited public comment on Sir Richard Scott's recommendations on public inquiry procedures. I was grateful for the 33 responses received, which were referred to the Council on Tribunals (the independent advisory body set up in 1958 following the Franks Report on Administrative Tribunals and Enquiries) by a reference in the following terms:

'To consider and advise on the procedural issues that arise in the conduct of public inquiries set up by Ministers to investigate particular matters of public concern, having regard to the recommendations made in Sir Richard Scott's report, and to the views on those recommendations that have since been expressed.'

The Council has now submitted its advice on the issues raised in respect of inquiry procedures in the Scott report and in the consultation. I am most grateful to the Council on Tribunals for this authoritative advice, which will be of considerable value when setting up inquiries. The advice is expressed in broad terms which enables general application, and therefore refers only briefly to other proceedings which might affect the procedural aspects of such inquiries, such as for example, coroners' inquests or, in Scotland, fatal accident inquiries.

Copies of the council's advice have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. Additional copies will be available from my department on request. The council's advice and my statement today constitute the Government's response to Sir Richard Scott's recommendations about inquiry procedures.