The first step will be for the government to determine the purpose of an inquiry. It will then appoint an Inquiry Panel or Chairperson. It should also consult on the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference. The Panel or Chairperson will then determine who should be granted “core participant” status pursuant to Paragraph 5 of the Inquiry Rules 2006.

Core participant status would be granted to those who played a direct and significant role in relation to the matters to which the inquiry relates, those who have a ‘significant interest’ in an important aspect of the matters to which the inquiry relates or those who may be subject to explicit or significant criticism through the inquiry. Core participants may be entitled to funding for legal representation to enable them to play as full a role as they wish.

The inquiry will be able to compel the production of documentary evidence and hear witnesses give evidence on oath. It will be able to make interim findings which, among other things, would be a prompt way of protecting other healthcare and key workers exposed to Covid-19 (or another similar virus) in the future. Core participants can apply to ask questions of any inquiry witnesses; make an opening and closing statement to the inquiry panel, and receive a copy of the inquiry report.