Lord Justice Pitchford
The Inquiry’s priority is to discover the truth… I wish to encourage all those with material evidence to give to make themselves known to the Inquiry team.
– Lord Justice Pitchford, 28 July 2015
The public inquiry into undercover policing, chaired by Lord Pitchford, is being prepared.
Some people who are particularly involved can be granted the status of ‘core participant’. This means that they are likely to have greater access to documents and that the costs of their legal representation may be covered.
In his opening remarks, Lord Pitchford explained
Rule 5 of The Inquiry Rules, made under section 41 of the 2005 Act, enables me to designate a person, with their consent, a core participant in the Inquiry. That designation can take place at any time during the Inquiry but the sooner it is made the better for the applicant and for the smooth running of the Inquiry. A person for these purposes may be an individual or a body corporate or other institution or organisation.
Before making the designation I am required to have regard in particular to that person’s role in matters the subject of the Inquiry, the nature and extent of the person’s interest in the matters to which the Inquiry relates, and the prospect that the person may be the subject of criticism during the Inquiry proceedings or in its report.
Not everyone who gives evidence or otherwise assists the inquiry needs to be a core participant. If you have a contribution to make, you are encouraged to contact the inquiry and discuss it.
Core participants may have their own lawyers, but where Lord Pichford regards two or more core participants as having similar interests then they must have a single lawyer. Additionally, the Inquiry may cover the costs of legal representation and attendances of witnesses but will not be doing this for lawyers that duplicate one another’s work.
Lord Pitchford has asked that people who want to be core participants make an application in writing to the Inquiry by 4pm on 18 September 2015.
The application should state
(i) what are the matters likely to be raised by the Inquiry in which the applicant is interested,
(ii) what is the nature and degree of the applicant’s interest in those matters,
(iii) what role the applicant played in those matters,
(iv) whether and if so for what reason the applicant may be the subject of criticism in the Inquiry proceedings or in its report, and
(v) such other facts and matters on which applicant relies in support of the application
Confidentiality can be requested and will be respected.
It is worth noting that people may apply at any time during the Inquiry – indeed, some people may only become aware that they are invovled after information is revealed at the Inquiry.
The first batch of core participants will be named at the first preliminary hearing, held in the Royal Courts of Justice on the week commencing 5 October. If participants haven’t agreed on their legal representation, he will make decisions in the second preliminary hearing which is due in November.
The Inquiry may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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0203 741 0411