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C.1 The approach to factual findings

  1. The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference state that the purpose of the Inquiry is to:

“reach conclusions with regard to the treatment of detainees where there is credible evidence of mistreatment contrary to Article 3 ECHR”. 1

Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 3) states: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.2 It is an absolute right; it cannot be limited or restricted in any way.

  1. Section 2 of the Inquiries Act 2005 makes clear that a chair of a public inquiry has no power to rule on or determine any person’s civil or criminal liability. 3 As a result, I am not permitted to make legal findings that any particular person breached another’s Article 3 rights.
  2. The Terms of Reference mirror the wording of section 2, stating under the heading ‘Principles’:

“It is not part of the Inquiry’s function to determine civil or criminal liability of named individuals or organisations. This should not, however, inhibit the Inquiry from reaching findings of fact relevant to its terms of reference.” 4

Therefore, the Inquiry should not be inhibited in the discharge of its functions by the likelihood of liability being inferred from facts that it determines or recommendations that it makes. 5

  1. This chapter (which should be read in conjunction with Appendix 1, which sets out the Inquiry’s methodology) deals with how I have arrived at conclusions about the mistreatment of detained people and my approach to assessing the evidence in order to fulfil the Terms of Reference.


  1. Terms of Reference, Brook House Inquiry[]
  2. European Convention on Human Rights, Article 3[]
  3. Inquiries Act 2005, section 2(1) read with section 3[]
  4. Terms of Reference Brook House Inquiry[]
  5. Inquiries Act 2005, section 2(2[]