Bermuda’s Commission of Inquiry secures third extension of time for publication of its report, to allow for ‘Maxwellisation’ (representations) process

The Royal Gazette has reported that “The Commission of Inquiry has been given a third extension after failing to release its report on the misuse of public funds by [its end of January extended] deadline.

The independent four-person panel, chaired by Sir Anthony Evans, has been tasked with looking into the findings of the Auditor-General in her report on the 2010, 2011 and 2012 financial years.

It began its work on April 1 and was originally given 20 weeks to deliver its report, meaning a deadline before the end of August. But in June, after a single public hearing was held, the commission was adjourned for further hearings in September and the deadline pushed back to December 31.

In October, the commission stated in the Frequently Asked Questions section of its website that it remained “focused on a target completion date of December 31”.

But the report was not completed by that date and the commission revealed that it had asked Michael Dunkley for another extension, until the end of January.

[At the end of January], the Premier said he had extended the deadline again for the submission of the final report from the commission for another month, until February 28.

Mr Dunkley said: “I have been advised by the members of the commission that in addition to completing the mechanics of producing their report, the extension will allow time for communication with those who testified before the commission and who now may be subject [to] criticism in the report.

“In turn, this provides persons who may be contacted to respond if they wish to do so.

This clearly indicates that the Commission of Inquiry’s report will contain at least some criticism of at least some people , subject to completion of the ‘Maxwellisation’ (or representations) process…

‘Maxwellisation’ is a procedural practice which derives its name from litigation in the early 1970s involving Robert Maxwell. It is the practice whereby a person who faces criticism in a public report is given an opportunity to respond to such criticism prior to publication of the report. This is done either by providing the person with the passages of the draft report containing the proposed criticism or by providing a summary or the gist of the proposed criticism.

 

For those interested in the law and practice of ‘Maxwellisation’, readers are invited to review a very good November 2016 paper drafted by various leading barristers at Blackstone Chambers in London, as part of a pending consultation and inquiry into the practice in the UK: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/treasury-committee/inquiries1/parliament-2015/maxwellisation-16-17/

 

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