Wednesday 11 October 2023

A trip around the Inquiries ~ An Update

Updated 13 October 2023 and 26 October 2023
Also 29 February 2024

What do we think when the word Inquiry is mentioned? Is an Inquiry a useful fact-finding exercise leading to the Inquiry Chair (who is usually, but not always, a judge or retired judge) making recommendations which government is then free to accept or reject? Or, are inquiries just a way for politicians to push difficult issues aside albeit at sometimes huge expense to the public purse?

In March 2018, the estimable Institute for Government (IfG) published an analysis of such questions - Public inquiries | Institute for Government.

Whatever stance one takes on Inquiries in general, the fact is that there are several on-going inquiries as well as some that have recently completed their task. Here is a brief round-up.


Independent Inquiry relating to Afghanistan – Independent Inquiry relating to Afghanistan (

On 15 December 2022 the Secretary of State for Defence

Friday 6 October 2023

R v Jaswant Singh Chail

On Christmas Day 2021, Jaswant Singh Chail (then aged 18) was arrested in a private part of the grounds of Windsor Castle in possession of a loaded crossbow. This part of the castle and grounds is never open to the general public. 

In February 2023, Chail pleaded guilty to three offeices - 

1) - Attempting to injure or alarm the Sovereign on 25th December 2021, contrary to section 2 of the Treason Act 1842. The maximum penalty for this offence is 7 years’ imprisonment. 

2) - Having an offensive weapon, contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953. The maximum penalty for this offence is 4 years’ imprisonment. 

3) - Making threats to kill, contrary to section 16 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years’ imprisonment. 

On 5 October 2023, Chail came before Mr Justice Hilliard for sentencing.

On Count 1 - 44 months’ imprisonment. 

On Count 2 - 16 months’ imprisonment. 

On Count 3 - 48 months’ imprisonment, with an extended licence period of 5 years. 

The total sentences amount to 9 years’ custody with a further licence period of 5 years.

Sentencing Remarks have been published - R -v- Chail - Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

These are of particular legal interest because

Monday 2 October 2023

Lady Chief Justice of England and Wales

Monday 2 October 2023 saw the swearing in of Dame Sue Carr as Lady Chief Justice of England and Wales.

Dame Sue Carr sworn in as Lady Chief Justice - Courts and Tribunals Judiciary 

Law and Lawyers: Judiciary ~ The next Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales (

A Lawyer Writes | Joshua Rozenberg | Substack 2 October 2023

This appointment has been welcomed and it is the first time that a female has held this office which, in its modern form, dates from the Judicature Acts 1873-75.. 

The current Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland is Dame Siobhan Keegan who was appointed from 2 September 2021.

Scotland's senior judges are the Lord Justice General (Lord Carloway) and Lord Justice Clerk (Lady Dorrian - appointed 2016). (Scotland does not use the title Lord Chief Justice or Chief Justice).

Female Chief Justices have been appointed in The Commonwealth - e.g. Helen Winkelmann is currently Chief Justice of New Zealand.

Sue Carr - Wikipedia