Thursday, 31 July 2014

Litvinenko - a public inquiry to be held under the Inquries Act 2005

On 22nd July, the Home Secretary decided that there should be an inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 into the death, in 2006, of Alexander Litvinenko - (BBC News 22nd July).  As a result, the inquest first established in 2006 has been suspended under the power in the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 Schedule 1 para 3.    The Home Secretary had resisted holding an Inquiry but Mr Litvinenko's widow brought a successful judicial review of the Home Secretary's decision - (read the judgment). 

Mr Justice Owen was sitting in the capacity as HM Assistant Coroner for Inner London North and was conducting the inquest.  He has now become the Inquiry Chairman.  Interestingly, Owen J retired from the High Court on 19th July.

See - Litvinenko - 31st July - Suspension of Inquest and Opening of Public Inquiry - where Sir Robert Owen stated that the government has issued a "restriction notice" under section 19 of the Inquiries Act 2005 so that specified sensitive material will be heard in closed session. 

Previous posts - 7th July 2013 - Inquest or Inquiry? Litvinenko  and also 11th February 2014

Of Interest to lawyers blog - 31st July 2014

The Inquries Act 2005 - (passed during the "wash up" prior to the 2005 General Election) - has been severly criticised as giving Ministers too much control over the inquiry process.  On this, see Law Society Gazette 27th March 2014.

1 comment:

  1. Inquests and inquiries are an increasing feature of public life. They come in a variety of forms, some with statutory powers and others carried out on an ad hoc, informal basis.

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    Sydney Lawyers