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Publication of a new public inquiries handbook

NLS Senior Lecturer, Dr Emma Ireton and Eversheds Sutherland’s Public Inquiries & Investigations team publish ‘The Practical Guide to Public Inquiries’.

Emma Ireton
Dr Emma Ireton

Nottingham Law School Senior Lecturer, Dr Emma Ireton, together with experienced practitioners from Eversheds Sutherland’s Public Inquiries & Investigations team, have co-authored a new book entitled The Practical Guide to Public Inquiries, an invaluable stage-by-stage guide on the process of public inquiries.

The book offers legal practitioners, participants, witnesses and those with an interest in public inquiries, practical advice and guidance on the functions, processes and procedures of a public inquiry.

It draws on the team’s considerable experience from inquiries such as the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Inquiry, Leveson Inquiry and Grenfell Tower Inquiry, providing guidance on the life-cycle of a public inquiry. The topics covered range from the appointment of the chair to selecting an appropriate venue, to using experts and publishing inquiry findings.

Dr Emma Ireton worked on the Bloody Sunday Inquiry when she was a solicitor in practice.  She is now a Senior Lecturer at Nottingham Law School, specialising in public inquiry research.

Authors from Eversheds Sutherland’s Public Inquiries & Investigations team include Sarah Jones, Partner and Head of Public Inquiries & Investigations; Peter Watkin Jones, Consultant; and Isabelle Mitchell, Principal Associate.

The Practical Guide to Public Inquiries Book Cover

Reviews of the book

“The authors are to be complimented on an impressively comprehensive and authoritative guide to public inquiries. It addresses every aspect of their establishment and conduct, and provides clear guidance supplemented by eminently practical checklists, a boon to the busy practitioner. Such a guide is much needed, and will prove invaluable to all those involved in the wide range of statutory, non-statutory and other forms of inquiry that have become such a feature of our public life.” Sir Robert Owen, Chair, Litvinenko Inquiry

“This concise guide to inquiries … fills a serious gap. It sets out to offer practical guidance on public inquiry procedure for inquiry teams, legal practitioners, participants, witnesses and all those interested in the public inquiry process and does this very well. The authors are well qualified; three work in the Inquiries and Investigations Team at Eversheds and Emma Ireton is a law lecturer who has researched inquiries for many years. The account is comprehensive; it follows the course of an inquiry from the pre-inquiry stage to the post-inquiry stage of ‘lessons learned’. The layout is easy to follow and, with its many examples of ‘best (and worst) practice’, those readers who are merely ‘interested in the public inquiry process’ will find it a good read.” Carol Harlow, Emeritus Professor of Law, London School of Economics and Political Science

“The Practical Guide to Public Inquiries not only does exactly what it says on the tin but it does so with style and a level of detail that mines every conceivable aspect of the Public Inquiry process from its inception to ultimate conclusion. It will rapidly become essential reading for all those so engaged whether they be government officials tasked with setting up an inquiry, panel members, lawyers or members of the press or individuals, interested groups and families affected by the outcome. I found the use of boxed quotations and check lists to be of particular value in making this both a comprehensive and user-friendly tool for all concerned.”Barra McGrory QC, Former Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland

“My view is that this is an invaluable practitioners’ guide for anyone coming to inquiry or investigative work whether in the public or private fields. The contributors list the major inquiries of the last twenty years; their expertise comes from having been in just about all of them. They cover every aspect of setting up an Inquiry from appointment of a Chair and their duties to data security and storage. I have already used it and will keep it with me.” Tom Crowther QC, Serjeants’ Inn Chambers

  • Notes for editors

    Publication details:

    Published: 10 December 2020

    Format: Hardback and digital PDF

    Edition: 1st

    Pages:  328

    ISBN:   9781509928347

    Publishers: Hart Publishing

    More information about The Practical Guide to Public Inquiries is available here.

    Author comments:

    “Public inquiries address matters of public concern, which can affect us all. In addition to providing guidance for practitioners, this book provides valuable insight into the role of public inquiries, how they are run, and what to expect of a public inquiry, for participants, witnesses and all those interested in the public inquiry process.” - Dr Emma Ireton, Senior Lecturer

    “This book covers the lifecycle of a public inquiry in a practical and user-friendly format; with quotes from others experienced in the field of public inquiries, useful checklists, and insights into the trickiest issues that inquiries, and those involved with them, have to deal with. This is a must read for practitioners, which we hope offers unique insight from the authors’ own experiences in numerous, high-profile public inquiries.” - Sarah Jones, Partner and Head of Public Inquiries & Investigations

    “We know first-hand how challenging public inquiries can be, often dealing with personal, emotional and sensitive topics. With this context, it’s crucial public inquiries are facilitated in a proper and professional way, and we hope the book goes some distance in ensuring this by offering very real, practical advice.” - Isabelle Mitchell, Principal Associate

    About Nottingham Law School:

    Nottingham Law School (NLS) has a long-established national and international reputation for excellence in legal education. NLS offers a complete range of innovative professional courses, informed by leading academic research, and by an extensive network of professional contacts. The award winning teaching law firm, NLS Legal, offers students invaluable opportunities to gain practical experience working with real clients. NLS have a long track record of commitment to corporate social responsibility and social mobility, and the school's mission is to deliver education and research that shape lives.

Published on 10 December 2020
  • Subject area: Law, criminology and justice
  • Category: Nottingham Law School