asked Her Majesty's Government:
Under what express provision of the statutory scheme for Royal Air Force boards of inquiry in force in 1994 senior reviewing officers could express their opinion on the findings of the members of the board of inquiry before whom evidence was laid; and under what provision they could substitute their own verdict on the facts for that of the board members.
The Royal Air Force board of inquiry procedure is governed by statutory rules made under Section 135 of the Air Force Act and the Chapter 17 of the Queen's Regulations for the Royal Air Force. These procedures were, as at 1994, amplified and explained by Chapter 8 of Air Publication (AP) 3207—The RAF Manual of Flight Safety, which itself is promulgated under the authority of the Defence Council in accordance with Section 2 of the Air Force (Constitution) Act 1917. Paragraphs 147 to 149 of that document make specific reference to the ability of higher authorities to disagree with recommendations and observations of the board of inquiry, and actions they should take if they do so. Boards of inquiry and reviewing officers do not reach "verdicts" as such.