House of Commons Briefing Note on Public Inquiries

13 April 2022

If you’re new to public inquiries and wondering where to find an introductory explanation, you could do far worse than to consult the recent briefing note, published by the House of Commons library, for Members of Parliament.

A challenge faced by many lawyers – particularly at the outset of the inquiry process – is explaining to clients in clear and brief form what a public inquiry involves and the implications of seeking Core Participant status. Many lay clients – particularly those from the worlds of business and commerce – will be vaguely aware of public inquiries from the press. Swiftly converting that vague awareness to an appreciation of the particular issues that might impact the client is critical.

Context is key – and one of the particularly useful aspects of the House of Commons briefing note is the snapshot summary it provides for all public inquiries currently being conducted under the 2005 Act. Furthermore, this briefing will be read and digested by Members of Parliament and is good indication of the increasing reliance on public inquiries to examine issues of national significance.

The UK Covid-19 Inquiry has been established the examine the UK’s preparedness and response to the Covid-19 pandemic and, critically, to learn lessons for the future. That the pandemic affected us all is axiomatic and the inquiry will be seeking the views of a hugely variety of organisations and individuals to reflect that.

If you think your client or organisation may wish to have a voice at the Inquiry, members of 5 Essex Court are available to provide representation and support that process.

Get in touch with our team by emailing


Mark Thomas

Call 2006


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