HL Deb 17 December 1998 vol 595 cc167-8WA
Lord Monkswell

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have made a decision on the form and coverage of the reopened formal investigation into the loss of the MV "Derbyshire". [HL385]

Lord Whitty

Having considered the comments submitted following our announcement of 12 March (WA 87–88) that the formal investigation into the loss of the Derbyshire was to be reopened we have today ordered, under Section 269 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, that the whole of the case shall be reheard by Her Majesty's High Court of Justice. The preparation and presentation of the case, the identification of parties to the investigation and the statement of questions are now matters for my right honourable friend the Attorney-General. The conduct of the reopened investigation will be a matter for the judge appointed to undertake it.

We have also decided that the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) will support an application made to the judge at his preliminary hearing that the reasonable costs of a single legal term to represent the interests of the relatives on those lost with the ship at the reopened formal investigation should be met from public funds.

We have further decided that the DETR should make a contribution towards the legal costs of one team that may be incurred by the relatives in preparing for the preliminary hearing.