02 September 2003 Investigation Committee Under Review

The Commission has noted the announcement made by the Minister for Education and Science concerning the decision of the Government to engage in a further stage of the review of the remit of the Commission. It seems clear that, while no final decision has yet been made as to the precise alterations proposed to the Commission’s Terms of Reference, some significant changes are being considered. These changes will affect the workings of the Investigation Committee. It seems highly probable that the work of the Investigation Committee will be altered in a way which will mean that some evidence now relevant will cease to be material to that Committee’s remit. In those circumstances the Investigation Committee has decided that, for legal, practical and financial reasons, it would be wrong to continue with the gathering and assessment of evidence (including discovered material) some of which is likely to fall outside the scope of being relevant to the task which it will ultimately be asked to complete. The Commission has decided, therefore, that pending the announcement of the results of the Government’s review, it will not use its power to gather further evidence and it will not plan for any further hearings of the Investigation Committee. Parties, whether Complainants or Respondents, should not commit any further resources to preparation for evidence gathering or hearing until the Investigation Committee has had an opportunity to consider the position in the light of the conclusions of the Government’s review. All parties involved in the process of the Investigation Committee will be notified by letter of the implications of the Government decision as soon as reasonably possible. It is not understood that any alternation in the role of the Confidential Committee is under consideration. The Committee will carry out its functions as heretofore. It is the Commission’s intention to issue a further Interim Report in November 2003.