From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- The term Royal Commission may also be used
in the United
Kingdom to describe the group of Lords Commissioners who may act in
the stead of the Sovereign to grant Royal Assent to legislation passed by Parliament.
that are Commonwealth Realms a Royal
Commission is a major government public inquiry into an issue. They have
been held in states such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia. In Hong Kong, Ireland and
South Africa, a
Commission of Enquiry or Commission of
Inquiry is similarly organised.
A Royal Commissioner has considerable powers,
generally greater even than those of a judge but restricted to the "Terms of Reference"
of the Commission. The Commission is created by the Head of State
(Sovereign, 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. In Australia—and
South Wales—Royal Commissions have been investigations into
police and government corruption and organised crime using the very broad
coercive powers of the Royal Commissioner to defeat the protective
systems that powerful, but corrupt, public officials had used to
shield themselves from conventional investigation.
Royal Commissions are usually chaired by one or more notable
figures. Because of their quasi-judicial powers the
Commissioners are often retired senior judges.
Royal Commissions usually involve research into an issue,
consultations with experts both within and outside of 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
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, often,
massive reports 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 principal Commissioner.)
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
- WA Inc Investigated the
collapse of Bond Corporation and other large businesses
in Western Australia.
- WA Police Royal Commission (2002–2004)
investigated high level corruption in the West Australian police
Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (1987–1991)
investigated allegations of murder of Australian Aboriginals in
Commission into the New South Wales Police Service ("Wood Royal
Commission") (1994–1997) investigated Police corruption in New
Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry
("Cole Royal Commission") (2001–2003) investigated the conduct of
industrial relations within the building industry.
- The Fitzgerald Inquiry into Queensland
Police corruption (late 1980s)
Commission of Inquiry into Drug Trafficking, ("Stewart Royal
- Royal Commission on the activities of the
Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union, ("Costigan Royal
Commission"), investigated organised crime influences and drug
trafficking in a large trade union (1980–1984).
- Royal Commission
into Drug Trafficking ("Woodward Royal Commission"),
(1977–1980) investigated drug trafficking in New South Wales,
especially links between the Mafia and New South Wales Police and
the disappearance of Donald
- Royal Commission into New South Wales Prisons ("Nagle Royal
- Royal Commission of Inquiry in respect of
certain matters relating to allegations of organised crime in
clubs ("Moffitt Royal Commission") (1973–74) investigated
organised crime in New South Wales.
- Royal Commission into the King Street Bridge failure,
1962–(1963) (see King Street Bridge
- Royal Commission into the West Gate Bridge collapse,
1970–(1971) (see West Gate Bridge)
- Royal Commission into the Longford Gas Plant Accident, 1998
(1998–1999) Wikipedia article: 1998 Esso Longford gas
- Royal Commission into HIH Insurance
(2001–2003) investigated the collapse of HIH
Insurance, then Australia's second largest insurance company.
- Inquiry into
certain Australian companies in relation to the UN Oil-For-Food
Programme (Cole Inquiry) (2005) investigation into the alleged
participation of the
AWB into the Oil for Food program.
- Chelmsford Royal Commission
(1989-1990) investigated patient deaths due to induced comas at the
Chelmsford psychiatric hospital in Sydney during the 1960s and
- Royal Commission examining all aspects of the government's
bushfire strategy in the aftermath of the 2009 Victorian bushfires
- 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
- Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu (1975) in planning,
development, construction, operation and maintenance of the various
infrastructure and services of Jubail and Yanbu industrial