Today not only saw the Budget announcements and more financial austerity, but also more preliminary hearings of the IICSA and separately concerns raised by Lord Woolf that inquiries such as the IICSA were “sucking up huge amounts of resources”. He also considered there is not a hope of the IICSA completing its work within five years. This comes a week after Sir Ian Kennedy raised his concerns about the breadth and scope of the IICSA.
At the preliminary hearing in respect of the Anglican Church investigation Ben Emmerson QC highlighted that the work of the Inquiry had to be targeted and proportionate and to address matters from each investigation within the context of the bigger picture of what the IICSA is seeking to achieve.
27 applications had been received from 43 organisations or individuals to become core participants. Many of these applications had been granted in advance of the hearing, a number of those who had not been granted that status reapplied at the hearing and decisions will be made in the future as to their status. A further hearing will be held before the summer to determine whether the public hearings in this investigation will be broadcast and to set a timetable for those hearings.
Understandably, all those who had been granted core participant status and those who were applying again were legally represented. The combined cost for the 12 sets of legal representatives and the Inquiry personnel at this hearing alone will not have been insignificant.
A much shorter preliminary hearing also proceeded today in respect of the Rochdale/Cambridge House/Knowl View investigation. Again there will be another hearing in the summer to consider the next steps in this investigation.
Next week the Scottish Inquiry will publish its call for evidence and in so doing identify what it will be focusing upon. That will be announced on 23 March.
So returning to Lord Woolf’s comments including the importance of focusing on the needs of the victims where do the resources come from to pay for all these inquiries?
Written by Paula Jefferson, partner