Royal commission

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A royal commission is a major ad-hoc formal public inquiry into a defined issue in some monarchies. They have been held in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia, Mauritius[1] and Saudi Arabia. A royal commission is similar in function to a commission of inquiry (or, less commonly, enquiry) found in other countries such as Ireland, South Africa, and regions such as Hong Kong. It has considerable powers, generally greater even than those of a judge but restricted to the terms of reference of the commission. These powers include subpoenaing witnesses, taking evidence under oath and requesting documents.

The commission is created by the head of state (the sovereign, or their representative in the form of a governor-general or governor) on the advice of the government and formally appointed by letters patent. In practice—unlike lesser forms of inquiry—once a commission has started the government cannot stop it. Consequently, governments are usually very careful about framing the terms of reference and generally include in them a date by which the commission must finish.

Royal commissions are called to look into matters of great importance and usually controversy. These can be matters such as government structure, the treatment of minorities, events of considerable public concern or economic questions. Many royal commissions last many years and, often, a different government is left to respond to the findings.

Notable royal commissions[edit]

Australia[edit]

Royal commissions (sometimes called commissions of inquiry) have been held in Australia at a federal level since 1902. Royal commissions appointed by the Governor-General operate under the Royal Commissions Act 1902 passed by the Parliament of Australia in 1902.

Royal Commissions are the highest form of inquiry on matters of public importance. A Royal Commission is formally established by the Governor-General on behalf of the Crown and on the advice of Government ministers. The government decides the terms of reference, provides the funding and appoints the commissioners, who are selected on the basis of their independence and qualifications. They are never serving politicians.

Royal commissions are usually chaired by one or more notable figures. Because of their quasi-judicial powers the commissioners are often retired or serving judges. They usually involve research into an issue, consultations with experts both within and outside government and public consultations as well. The warrant may grant immense investigatory powers, including summoning witnesses under oath, offering of indemnities, seizing of documents and other evidence (sometimes including those normally protected, such as classified information), holding hearings in camera if necessary and—in a few cases—compelling all government officials to aid in the execution of the Commission. The results of Royal Commissions are published in reports, often massive, of findings containing policy recommendations. (Due to the verbose nature of the titles of these formal documents – for example, the Royal commission into whether there has been corrupt or criminal conduct by any Western Australian Police Officer – they are commonly known by the name of the commission's chair.) While these reports are often quite influential, with the government enacting some or all recommendations into law, the work of some commissions have been almost completely ignored by the government. In other cases, where the commissioner has departed from the Warranted terms, the commission has been dissolved by a superior court.

Federal[edit]

New South Wales[edit]

Queensland[edit]

South Australia[edit]

Victoria[edit]

Western Australia[edit]

Northern Territory[edit]

Bahamas[edit]

  • Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drug Trafficking and Government Corruption (Nov 1983-Dec 1984) (formerly The Commission of Inquiry Appointed to Inquire Into the Illegal Use of the Bahamas for the Transshipment of Dangerous Drugs Destined for the United States of America) A three-person Commission of Inquiry was appointed after US-television reports alleged the government was taking bribes from drug traffickers to look the other way as drugs flowed through the Bahamas bound for the United States.

Bahrain[edit]

Canada[edit]

Ceylon[edit]

Hong Kong[edit]

  • Commission of Inquiry on Allegations relating to the Hong Kong Institute of Education (2007)
  • Commission of Inquiry on the New Airport (1998–99)
  • Commission of Inquiry into the Garley Building Fire (1996–97)

India[edit]

Mauritius[edit]

  • Royal Commission on Slave Trade: Commissioners of Eastern Inquiry, Mauritius (1826-1828)[5]
  • Fever Inquiry Commission in Mauritius (1866-1868)[6]
  • Commission of Enquiry on living conditions of Indentured Coolies in Mauritius (1872-1874) [7]
  • Commission of Enquiry into Unrest on Sugar Estates (Hooper Commission, 1937) [8]
  • Commission of Enquiry into Disturbances in the North of Mauritius (Moody Commission, 1943)[9]
  • Trustram-Eve Electoral Boundaries Commission (1957-1958)[10][11]
  • Commission of Inquiry Sugar Industry by Balogh & Bennett (1962)[12]
  • Banwell Commission on the Electoral System of Mauritius (1966)[13][14]
  • Commission of Inquiry in corruption with Ministry of Social Security and Ministry of Cooperatives (1978-1979)[15][16]
  • Commission of Enquiry on the Sugar Industry (1984) [17]
  • Commission of Enquiry on Drugs (1986-1987)[18]
  • Margo Commission of Enquiry on crash of South African Airways Flight 295 (1987)[19]
  • Truth and Justice Commission on the lasting impact of slavery and indentured labour (2009-2011)[20][21]
  • Commission of Inquiry on Horse Racing in Mauritius (2014-2016)[22][23]
  • Commission of Enquiry on Drug Trafficking (2015-2018)[24]
  • Commission of Inquiry on the sale of Britam and BAI (2017-ongoing)[25][26]
  • Commission of Inquiry on violation of the Constitution and other laws by former President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (2018-ongoing)[27] [28]

Malaysia[edit]

New Zealand[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "1944 Commissions of Enquiry Act" (PDF). Government of Mauritius. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission". Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Have Your Say On The Mental Health Royal Commission". Premier of Victoria. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Home". rcvmhs.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  5. ^ "Report on Slave Trade CO 167/138 (1828)". UK National Archives. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  6. ^ "Report of the Fever Inquiry Commission (Mauritius), 1866 and 1867. Folio pp. 78, Mauritius, 1868". The British and Foreign Medico-Chirurgical Review. NCBI. 47 (93): 134–135. 1871. PMC 5163407.
  7. ^ "List of commissions and officials: 1870-1879 (nos. 1-37)". British History. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  8. ^ Hooper, Charles. "Mauritius. Commission of Enquiry into Unrest on Sugar Estates in Mauritius, 1937". Government of Mauritius. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  9. ^ Moody, Sydney. "Report of the Commission of Enquiry into the Disturbances Which Occurred in the North of Mauritius in 1943". Government of Mauritius. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  10. ^ Matthur, Raj. "Party Cooperation & Electoral System in Mauritius" (PDF). Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  11. ^ Trustram-Eve. "Trustram-Eve Commission report". UK Government. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  12. ^ Balogh, T. "Commission of Inquiry Sugar Industry, 1962". Government of Mauritius. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  13. ^ Banwell, Sir Harold. "Report of the Banwell Commission on the Electoral System". British Government. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  14. ^ "Banwell Commission". EISA. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  15. ^ Prayag, Touria. "Wrangling over a commission of enquiry" (PDF). L'Express Weekly. Retrieved 9 July 2010.
  16. ^ "A quoi servent les commissions d'enquête?". L'Express. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  17. ^ "Report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Sugar Industry (1984)". Government of Mauritius. 1984. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  18. ^ "Findings of the Commission of Enquiry on Drugs (Commission Rault, 1987)". Government of Mauritius. 1987. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  19. ^ Young, Mark. "The Helderberg disaster: Was this the cause of the crash?". Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  20. ^ "Labour and the Truth and Justice Commission". Le Mauricien. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  21. ^ "Truth and Justice Commission report" (PDF). TJC. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  22. ^ "Government Launches Inquiry Into Racing". Sporting Post. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  23. ^ "Communiqué - Commission of Inquiry". Mauritius Turf Club (MTC). Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  24. ^ Varma, Yatin. "The Task Force on drugs: a gimmick". Le Mauricien. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  25. ^ Allybocus, Fairyal. "Justice system: Was the "commission d'enquête" on the sale of Britam really intent on finding the truth?". L'Express. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  26. ^ "BAI: Sattar Hajee Abdoula et Imrith Ramtohul nommés assesseurs de la commission d'enquête sur Britam". L'Express. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  27. ^ "Commission of Inquiry on the violation of the Constitution and any other laws". Government of Mauritius. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  28. ^ Bhuckory, Kamlesh. "Mauritian Premier Says Inquiry Ordered by President Is Illegal". Bloomberg. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  29. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Commissions of inquiry, 1909–2011 – Commissions of inquiry – Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand".
  30. ^ http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/r.christie/thomas_royal_commission_1980.pdf
  31. ^ "Report of the Royal Commission to inquire into the Crash on Mount Erebus, Antarctica of a DC10 Aircraft operated by Air New Zealand Limited Introduction and Prologue" (PDF). 1981. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  32. ^ "Royal Commission into the Pike River Mine Tragedy – pikeriver.royalcommission.govt.nz".
  33. ^ Hartevelt, John. "Pike River disaster inquiry announced". Stuff.co.nz. APN. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
  34. ^ "Royal Commission of Inquiry into Building Failure Caused by the Canterbury Earthquakes – Royal Commission of Inquiry into Building Failure Caused by the Canterbury Earthquakes".
  35. ^ "Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care". New Zealand Government of Internal Affairs. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  36. ^ "Report: Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain on 15 March 2019".
  37. ^ "Royal commission to investigate terror attacks in NZ". The Nation. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  38. ^ A copy of the Report of the Commission is available at: http://eppi.dippam.ac.uk/documents/9883/eppi_pages/217631 (accessed 18/11/2012)
  39. ^ "The 1870 Education Act". UK Parliament. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  40. ^ The Times, 22 November 1904, Index p. 7
  41. ^ Wood, John Carter (2012). "Press, Politics and the 'Police and Public' Debates in Late 1920s Britain". Crime, Histoire & Sociétés / Crime, History & Societies. 16 (1): 78. ISSN 1422-0857. Retrieved 23 August 2020.