JUSTICE this week submitted a response to the Ministry of Justice Consultation Paper on Establishing an Independent Public Advocate. The proposed Independent Public Advocate would act for bereaved families after a public disaster and support them at inquests and inquiries.
JUSTICE is heartened that Government is considering reform in this area. We acknowledge that victims of, or those bereaved by, tragic events often experience inquests and inquiries as alienating and highly adversarial experiences. We are not opposed in principle to the establishment of a new office or role such as the Independent Public Advocate.
However, we feel that the consultation paper provides insufficient reassurances on i.) ensuring the role does not duplicate, or indeed encroach on, the role of legal representatives, and ii.) how independence from Government can be safeguarded.