‘Mock trials’ in Public Inquiries Must End

The chief executive of the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) published a report claiming that the ‘litigation model’ of public inquiries is not quite effective now so it has to be changed embracing alternative methods of dialogue and decision-making.

Karl Mackie, who is the author of this report commented that public inquiries have become ‘increasingly prevalent’.

According to him the ad hoc nature of inquires was a simple model but at the same time it cost much, required long time and in most of the cases did not deliver what has been promised.

Last year CEDR commissioned a study the results of which showed that only 27% of the 2,000 people polled were convinced of the authenticity of the inquiry system and 58% shared that inquiries cost too much.

‘It is now time for a rethink and reform, including pilots of alternative approaches,’ said Mackie.

The suggestion of Mackie is moving away from the “litigation model”, which would provide better conditions for greater dialogue between parties using the techniques of mediation, arbitration and alternative dispute.

In his opinion there were inquiries which had adopted the ‘ambiance of a mock trial’.

Two things need to be done so that the current situation changes- increased training should be given to those judges who chair public inquiries; process has to be divided into two different distinct phrases- investigation and recommendations.

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