Law Council Urges Haneef Inquiry To Honour Assurances

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1st May 2008, 11:37am - Views: 405





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MR0908

1 May 2008


Law Council Urges Haneef Inquiry to Honour

Assurances


The Law Council has welcomed assurances made at the preliminary

hearing of the Dr Haneef inquiry that the principles of natural justice will be

observed and that government agencies will cooperate in making

witnesses and documents available. 

Each of the government agencies likely to be involved have assured John

Clarke QC, who is overseeing the inquiry, that they would cooperate fully,

provide access to all relevant documents and permit all officers to be

interviewed. 

Law Council President Ross Ray QC said, “This is a promising start.

However, it was somewhat concerning that, although the hearing was

conducted with a considerable degree of legal formality, there is no

statutory framework governing the conduct of proceedings.”

“At the hearing, ‘appearances’ were announced, ‘opening statements’ were

made and ‘applications’ were advanced and ‘ruled’ upon – but in fact,

despite the best intentions of those involved, this formality and procedure

is not supported by a statutory framework.”


“Nonetheless, the Law Council hopes that this inquiry can proceed to

satisfactorily address its very important terms of reference,” he said.


To date, the Law Council has been reassured by the Attorney General's

commitment to entertain any request by Mr Clarke for additional powers, if

required.  

“The Government appears to be undertaking this exercise in good faith. 

Therefore such powers, if requested, should be granted as a matter of

course, for example, with the inquiry reconstituted under the Royal

Commissions Act,” Mr Ray said.


“At its appearance before yesterday’s hearing, the Law Council also made

it known that it intends to make a written submission to the inquiry and will

also request the opportunity to appear directly,” Mr Ray concluded.




Media Contact: Elenore Eriksson,

Director Public Affairs - 02 6246 3716/0419 269 855



The Law Council of Australia exists to represent the legal profession at the

national level, to speak on behalf of its constituent bodies on national issues,

and to promote the administration of justice, access to justice and general

improvement of the law.






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