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Commissions Of Inquiry Guidelines Released

12 February 2001

New guidelines on how to establish and run a Commission of Inquiry have been released by the Department of Internal Affairs. They will be launched at 5pm today at Floor 1, 1 the Terrace.

Although not intended as a substitute for legal advice "Setting Up and Running Commissions of Inquiry" will assist everyone involved in a Commission of Inquiry, ranging from politicians who must decide when a Commission is appropriate through to members of the public who wish to attend or study them. These guidelines were last updated in 1974.

The manual is not prescriptive but provides pointers and options for Commissioners and officials to follow. This is partially because every inquiry addresses a unique mix of issues and the Commissions of Inquiry Act is, itself, open to varying interpretations on many matters of practice.

Many high profile members of the legal profession have been involved in critiquing the document and have actively assisted in the development of the guidelines. These include constitutional lawyer Sir Geoffrey Palmer, past solicitor general John McGrath and past and present Commissioners including Sir Ronald Davidson, and Sir Thomas Eichelbaum.

There have been over 120 Royal Commissions and Commissioners of Inquiry between 1947 and 2000.

"Setting Up and Running Commissions of Inquiry" is available on the Internal Affairs webstie:.www.dia.govt.nz. (Click on 'What's New' or 'Publications, Reports and Reviews').Hard copies of the document are available from Elly-Ann Pritchard, Department of Internal Affairs, PO Box 805, Wellington.

For further information please contact Pamela Fleming on 025 575676

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