By Andy Rogers, Associate Director & Mediator, CEDR
The sad death of Dr David Kelly in 2003 and the following Hutton Inquiry still has many people asking questions; therefore did the process used achieve the objective of a public inquiry – to find satisfactory answers for the public?
Lord Hutton is a respected and experienced senior judge, so in theory it might be surprising that his inquiry still has a number of people, including experts in their fields, asking questions. Yet when looking at the system used, most likely this public inquiry, as most are, was set up within the tradition of the British justice system, without considering the alternative methods or innovative process elements available.
An alternative would have been to hold a public inquiry with an agenda set, in part, through a negotiated consultation with relevant interested parties, that also might be checked prior to conclusion that see if the agreed public agenda would be met. Had such an innovation been made the answers the inquiry produced might have been satisfactory to a wider audience.
With interest in this sad incident still extensive seven years after the event, one might argue that using the current public inquiry process to find satisfactory answers is not sufficiently achieving its objective.