When will the Inquiry start taking evidence?
As soon as the Inquiry launches formally, it will call for all relevant evidence from Government Departments and Agencies, detainees and others who wish to provide it. You are, however welcome to submit information to us in advance of the Inquiry’s formal launch and the Panel would welcome early submissions of evidence. Please see this page on submitting evidence for details of how to do this.
How can I submit information to the Inquiry?
This page explains how you can submit information to the Inquiry. A formal call for evidence will be made at the Inquiry’s launch but the Inquiry would welcome early submissions of evidence now, should you wish to do so.
Can members of the public and media attend hearings?
Members of the public and media will be able to attend open hearings. For the most popular hearings, spaces will be allocated by way of a ballot. Further information on how to attend hearings will be published here.
Who will be giving evidence?
The Detainee Inquiry Panel hopes to take oral evidence from a range of witnesses including UK Government officials and Ministers both current and former, those who allege mistreatment or rendition and say that the UK was aware of or complicit in their mistreatment and/or rendition and non-governmental organisations interested in this field.
Will names of witnesses be provided in advance?
Will the Inquiry be publishing witness statements, and if so, when?
Witness statements of witnesses who give evidence in public will be published on this website on the day that the particular witness gives evidence. For statements relating to private evidence sessions, the Inquiry will, wherever possible, look to publish a redacted version or alternatively a gist as soon as possible after that witness gives evidence.
Will the Inquiry ask for evidence from current and former detainees?
The Inquiry will ask current and former detainees who have evidence of UK involvement in any mistreatment they allege to give their evidence to the Inquiry.
Will the Inquiry seek evidence from witnesses who are neither British nor resident in the UK?
The Inquiry is looking into the actions of the UK Government and its Security and Intelligence Agencies and does not intend to approach foreign personnel or organisations for evidence. However, if a foreign witness chooses to provide evidence to the Inquiry, it will be considered.
Will you tell witnesses the line of questioning they will face?
To ensure fairness to the witness and make evidence sessions as effective as possible, the Inquiry will provide guidance on the matters that the Panel wish to cover in the hearing, and any documents the Inquiry wishes to refer to. However, witnesses will not be given advance notification of the precise lines of questioning they will face.
What legal protection do witnesses have to speak freely?
As for many previous Inquiries, the Attorney General will provide an undertaking that evidence given by a witness to the Inquiry may not be used against them in any criminal proceedings. The Cabinet Secretary, Head of the Diplomatic Service and Heads of the Security and Intelligence Agencies have also said that they will extend offers of immunity from disciplinary action to serving government officials who give evidence or otherwise assist the Inquiry. These measures, once implemented, should help to ensure that witnesses feel that they can provide frank and honest evidence to the Inquiry.
Can a witness be accompanied during hearings?
Yes. A witness may be accompanied at the hearing of that witness’s evidence by a legal representative, family member or friend. However, only the witness themselves will be permitted to give evidence to the Inquiry and the persons accompanying them may not speak on their behalf.
What adaptations will the Inquiry make for witnesses with special needs or requirements?
When a witness is called to give oral evidence, along with providing a witness statement, he or she will also be asked to let the Inquiry know of any special requirements or support that he or she feels that he or she needs in order to give evidence. The Inquiry will be sensitive to these requests and endeavour to meet them. However, the final decision on meeting these requests will rest with the Inquiry Panel.
Will any financial support be provided for witnesses for their attendance at hearings and any legal assistance they may wish to call on?
Current and former civil and crown servants called as witnesses can expect to receive legal and financial support from their current or former Department or agency. The Protocol states that the Inquiry can recommend that reasonable legal costs associated with drafting witness statements for individual non-government witnesses (and attending the Inquiry to provide support when that witness gives evidence) should be met, along with reasonable travel and subsistence costs. While this funding will not normally extend beyond that level of assistance, recommendations for further funding will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
If witnesses are not able to consult a lawyer whilst giving evidence, is there a danger that they might incriminate themselves or libel someone when giving evidence?
All witnesses will be offered legal assistance in preparing for the hearings and are entitled to have a legal representative present to advise them during the hearing. However, the legal representative will not be permitted to ask questions or make representations during the hearing.
What will the Inquiry do if it receives evidence or information about criminal offences?
If the Inquiry receives credible evidence that criminal offences have been committed and that evidence has not previously been referred to the investigating authorities, the Inquiry would be obliged to refer the evidence to the appropriate investigating authority.
Does the Inquiry have the power to force people to give evidence?
As a non-statutory Inquiry, we cannot compel attendance of witnesses or production of documentary evidence. However, the Prime Minister has given assurance that the Cabinet Secretary and heads of the Security and Intelligence Agencies will ensure the Inquiry gets the full co-operation it needs. Should a witness refuse to respond to a request from the Panel to provide evidence, the Panel may decide to make that refusal public.
If I attend hearings, will I be able to ask questions of witnesses?
No. Only Counsel to the Inquiry will be able to question witnesses.. However, in advance of hearings you may feed in questions that you would like asking of a witness to our Counsel. Further information on how to submit questions can be found here. The final decision on which questions are put to witnesses rests with the Inquiry Panel as set out in the Protocol.
When will evidence be given in public and when will it be kept private?
The Inquiry intends to hear as much evidence in public as possible, except where this could damage national security or cause other harms as set out in Annex A of the Protocol.
Why would someone need to give evidence in private?
The Protocol sets out that the Inquiry wishes to hear all evidence in public unless the Panel decide it should be heard in private. A decision that evidence should be given in private may be due to a number of reasons including: whether the evidence would, if revealed in public, damage national security or other vital national interests, and any other reasons such as health or security that would make it difficult for the witness to appear or to be entirely frank in public.
Will evidence given in private be explained in public, and, if so, when and how?
Where it does not cause harm to national security, the Inquiry will publish on its website redacted or summarised transcripts of private hearings as soon as possible after the hearing has taken place.
Will all documentary evidence be published on the website, and if so, when?
The Inquiry will aim to publish a key set of open documentation on its website in advance of hearings taking place. Thereafter, documentary evidence will be published on a rolling basis where this does not cause harm to national security. Published documents can be found here.
Can the Inquiry force the Security and Intelligence Agencies to submit written evidence even if that evidence is secret?
The Prime Minister has assured the Panel they will see receive all relevant evidence from Government Departments and Agencies, whatever its origin or classification.
How will the Inquiry know that it has all relevant material from the agencies or if anything is being held back or destroyed?
Departmental Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Agencies will be asked to sign personal certificates guaranteeing that all relevant evidence has been provided to the Inquiry. This will strengthen the Prime Minister’s commitment that the Inquiry will have access to all the evidence relevant to its terms of reference.
Will the Inquiry proceedings be televised?
No decision has yet been taken on whether to televise the Inquiry’s proceedings.
Are records of proceedings going to be available on the Inquiry website?
Transcripts of all public hearings will be published here on this website on the day evidence is given. For private or closed evidence sessions, redacted or summarised transcripts will be published as soon as possible after the hearings, providing these do not cause harm to national security.