Suggested Protocol for the application of anonymity
General approach to anonymity
"This is a public inquiry and its proceedings will be conducted in public save to the extent that to do so will infringe the human rights of any witness or interested party. The inquiry team are in possession of full identities and may be required to reveal those identities to witnesses in order to take statements. It is possible that some people affected by that exercise may wish that their identities be withheld.
Anonymity applications – Procedure
Application on the Papers
- Receipt of application.
- If Counsel to the Inquiry expresses a view on the application to the Chairman, and that view is adverse to the applicant, the application will be sent to the applicant for comments.
- Applicant to submit comments to the inquiry within 14 days of the date of the letter informing him of any such comments.
- Chairman to make a preliminary decision as to whether he is minded to grant the application and, if he is, to prepare a suitably edited version of his ruling (to the extent that this does not place the anonymity in jeopardy).
- If its effect is to grant the application in whole or in part:
- the ruling is to be sent to the applicant as the Chairman’s preliminary decision
- an edited version of the ruling is to be sent to interested parties
- comments by any interested party to be sent to the inquiry within 7 days of the date of such a letter.
- Chairman to make a decision, giving his reasons
- decision sent to applicant and interested parties.
- If the application is refused or is allowed only in part, the applicant has the right to make an oral application to the whole Panel within 14 days of the date of the letter.
- As an alternative to exercising his right to make an oral application to the whole Panel, the applicant may instead make further written representations to the Chairman within 14 days of the date of the letter referred to in paragraph 6 above. In that event the Chairman will review his decision, with the procedure set out in paragraphs 1 to 5 above being applicable to the review. After he has conducted his review the Chairman will issue a further decision to the applicant and to the interested parties.
- Interested parties may within 14 days of being informed of the grant of anonymity or screening to a witness (made under paragraph 5 above) request the Chairman to permit an oral application to be made to the whole Panel to challenge that grant. The Chairman will decide whether to exercise his discretion to permit such an application to be made.
- Any grant of anonymity or screening is subject to review if, at any stage in the Inquiry proceedings, a witness contends that it would be unjust to withhold from him the identity of a person granted anonymity
- The applicant will be given notice of the date and venue of the oral hearing.
- Interested parties will also be informed of the date and venue of the oral hearing if this can be done without jeopardizing the applicant’s anonymity.
- If they have been so informed, interested parties will be entitled to attend but how much they can be told and to what extent there can be an inter partes hearing of the application will have to be decided on the occasion of the oral hearing in the light of the issues to be considered. They will, if so informed, be entitled to address the Panel inter partes. The aim will be to adopt a flexible approach so as to facilitate proceedings and to reach a decision which is fair to all parties.
- The applicant will be provided with the information arising from paragraph 3 above.
- The view of Counsel to the Inquiry will be obtained by the Chairman throughout the application procedure to assist him and, in the case of an oral hearing, the Panel.