Public Bodies: Legal Duty of Candour

Part of Justice – in the House of Commons at on 20 February 2024.

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Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

As I say, the recommendations of Bishop James Jones’s report, which we have considered extremely carefully, contained the charter for bereaved families, and it is worth reflecting on what paragraph 3 of the report says. It requires the public body to

“approach forms of public scrutiny—including public inquiries and inquests—with candour, in an open, honest and transparent way, making full disclosure of relevant documents, material and facts.”

Taken together with the powers that exist under the Inquiries Act 2005, there is potentially criminal culpability, misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice, but of course we will keep this under review. We want to make sure that public bodies do what they should—that is, act transparently—and we will always consider what further steps can be taken.