Friday, 31 October 2014

Is a Royal Commission the solution to conducting a credible child abuse inquiry?

Today the UK media is full of controversy about the suitability of Fiona Woolf as Chair of a Home Office-sponsored allegedly "independent" inquiry into child abuse.

The inquiry currently proposed by the Home Office is a non-statutory inquiry which, supposedly, can be converted into a statutory inquiry (under the Inquiries Act 2005) at a later date.

I, for one, don't believe that it will be lawfully possible to convert the currently formulated child abuse inquiry into a statutory inquiry, not least because it seems to me that several Panel members wouldn't credibly pass the tests set out in Section 9 of the Inquiries Act 2005.

Further, the Home Office-sponsored inquiry will cover only England and Wales.

It cannot cover Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Nor, importantly, can it cover Crown Dependencies. At least that's my understanding.

Among other "Elephants in the room" (see A draft proposal for a credible, definitive inquiry into UK child (sexual) abuse ), there are persistent allegations that the late Prime Minister Edward Heath was a paedophile and used, so it is alleged, his yacht for child abuse in or around Jersey.

As a result of the allegations regarding the late Edward Heath, it seems to me that a credible child abuse inquiry must, at a minimum, include the Crown Dependency of Jersey.

A Home Office inquiry, whether ad hoc or statutory, cannot do so, so far as I understand the position.

The only mechanism of which I am aware that could allow a genuinely overarching child abuse inquiry to include Jersey is a Royal Commission.

It seems to me that survivor groups and others could usefully give serious thought to scrapping the inadequate, shambolic Home Office inquiry and seek a Royal Commision into Child Abuse.

A Royal Commission is an ad hoc inquiry.

It seems to me to be possible for the Letters Patent to allow for the "total transparency" and "Public Panel" that I seek. See my draft proposal of a few days ago for background I consider potentially relevant:

A draft proposal for a credible, definitive inquiry into UK child (sexual) abuse

It seems to me that only a Royal Commission can address key issues relating to Crown Dependencies.

Perhaps there are seemingly intractable problems with a proposed Royal Commission. Those who see such problems are welcome to leave a Comment on this post.

1 comment:

  1. You are all being taken for a ride: