Leveson Inquiry: Lord Woolf Warns It 'May Not Deliver' What Public Want

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LEVESON INQUIRY
The inquiry into press standards has drawn plenty of public attention to the Murdoch family | Alamy

The public inquiry set up in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal may fail to deliver what the public expects it to, a peer warned on Wednesday.

Former Lord Chief Justice and crossbench peer Lord Woolf fears there maybe a "misfit" between expectations of the Leveson Inquiry and what it has actually been tasked to produce.

Lord Woolf also raised concerns about the high cost of inquiries and claimed funding for the investigation into Bloody Sunday, which reached almost £200m, was treated like a tap without a water meter.

Lord Woolf is leading an "inquiry into inquiries" with the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) which he hopes will lead to a more streamlined process.

"He is, I think, doing very well," he said. "It may be another Hutton situation, there may be a change round, but at the moment it looks good and at least he got on with it."

He added: "What I am worried about is when it comes along to making the recommendations which are going be for the long-term control of the media, is it really a body which is designed to look at that sort of thing?

"It may be a very useful stepping stone on the way but at least I would have hoped that somebody had given thought."

The Saville Inquiry, which found that 14 civilians in Londonderry killed by British soldiers in 1972 died as a result of "unjustifiable firing", was the longest running in UK legal history.

The peer said he believed Lord Saville felt it was vital everyone had their say in the inquiry.

"He was meticulous in that and, of course, very praise worthy, but proportionality is very important in these matters and I just do not myself accept that any inquiry that took as long and involved the expense of the Saville Inquiry has not got things wrong," he said.

"I'm sorry to seem critical of an individual I admire very much but that was what happened. How do you absorb all the information you have heard and record it even if you read and re-read it?"

An independent study commissioned by CEDR found just 27% of the 2,000 people polled had confidence in the inquiry system while 58% believed they were too costly.

Karl Mackie, CEDR chief executive, said there was limited research about how many inquiry recommendations were ever implemented.

"There's certainly the sense that a lot of recommendations never get implemented, particularly in the complex areas."Jodi Taylor had been drinking all day with her three friends Janina Phillips, Tyler Simpson and Stacey Tyrrell before they went out clubbing in San Antonio on the Balearic island.

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