Ad Hoc Bodies

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Parliamentary Influences Ad Hoc Bodies Unit
Ad Hoc bodies are temporary bodies formed on an as and when basis, they are formed
to investigate one particular issue and are then disbanded and cease to exist. There
are two major types of ad hoc bodies
Public Inquiries
Royal Commissions
Public Inquiries
Public inquiries are investigations launched by the government to review specific events
or actions. Typical events that cause a government to issue and inquiry are mass
murders, transport crashes etc. One famous event that caused the government to start
an inquiry was the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the police investigation that
followed the case. The Macpherson Inquiry was set up to review the investigation and
eventually concluded that there had been institutional racism within the police force
which caused a lapse in the investigation which prevented the prosecution of a guilty
Another example is the Saville Inquiry which was instigated to look into the Bloody
Sunday massacre during which British paratroopers opened fire upon Irish civilians it
was concluded that that it was the fault of the British Army because it was they who
opened fire first and were guilty of shooting fleeing, unarmed civilians one of whom was
already wounded.
Royal Commissions
Royal commissions are similar to public inquiries in the sense that they are set up to
conduct research into a certain event or action. One famous example of a royal
commission is the Benson Commission (1972), the law society was arguing that
solicitors should have the same rights as barristers to stand in court, the question that
the commission was looking to answer was "Do we, the UK, need two branches of the
legal profession?" the report found that the legal profession should stay as it is. After the
report was presented the commission then ceased to exist. A royal commission is
named after the lord who leads it.
Evaluating Ad Hoc Bodies
+ Ad hoc bodies are set up temporarily to research one specific issue which
means that in depth research is carried out and that any decision mad is well
informed and benefits from extensive knowledge.
- They research specific areas of the law that will only relate to specific section of
society and not the public as a whole.
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