Part 1 Preliminary provisions

3 Purpose

(1)

The purpose of this Act is to reform and modernise the law relating to inquiries, by—

(a)

providing for the establishment of both public and government inquiries to inquire into matters of public importance; and

(b)

recognising and providing for Royal commissions established under the Royal prerogative; and

(c)

enabling those inquiries to be carried out effectively, efficiently, and fairly.

(2)

The Act therefore sets out, in relation to any inquiry to which this Act applies,—

(a)

how an inquiry is set up and its members are to be appointed; and

(b)

the powers, duties, and privileges of an inquiry and the immunities that apply to the inquiry and its members; and

(c)

the protection available for witnesses and counsel appearing before an inquiry; and

(d)

the principles governing the procedure of an inquiry, including those relating to evidential matters; and

(e)

provision for recourse to the court by, or in relation to, an inquiry; and

(f)

sanctions that may be applied by or on behalf of an inquiry.

(3)

The Act also makes provision for—

(a)

the repeal of sections 2 and 15 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908, which provide, respectively, for the appointment of a commission of inquiry and the extension of that Act to commissions appointed under other Acts or under the Letters Patent; and

(b)

the continuing application of the remaining provisions of the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908 in specified circumstances.