Maxwell Letters

The Robert Hamill Inquiry is concerned to ensure that it acts fairly towards witnesses and others who may be affected by it. It is an important principal of fairness that, if any criticism is to be made publicly in the course of an inquiry, the individual subject of that criticism has a fair chance of dealing with it.

Throughout the course of this inquiry procedures have been adopted with the aim of ensuring that potential criticisms are identified and notified to the individual concerned so that he or she could respond to them. In particular such procedures operated when witnesses were interviewed, when evidence was led, when written submissions were made, and when oral submissions were made.

The Chairman recognises the possibility that, not withstanding those precautions, the Inquiry’s report may contain criticisms against individuals to which those individuals have not previously had a fair opportunity to respond. In those circumstances he has decided that, to the extent that the Panel is minded to make criticism in its report, and the individual being criticised has not previously had a fair chance to deal with that criticism, a letter will be sent to him or her. Such letters will set out the gist of the criticism that the Panel is minded to make and will give the individual an opportunity to make representations about it.

For the avoidance of any doubt, such letters will not be sent to any individuals who are likely to be criticised in the report who have already had a fair chance to deal with the criticism.