Dalhousie Law Journal


commission of inquiry, science, advocacy, royal commission, consultative committees, risk assessment


Given how frequently they are commissioned, it is surprising how little has been written about inquiries and, more particularly, about the role of science and advocacy within them.' The lack of serious attention paid to inquiries may be a product of their diversity. For example, inquiries include royal commissions and consultative committees and risk assessments. Some of these inquiries have wide-ranging mandates, commission extensive research and actively solicit public commentary, while others are more closely akin to legal proceedings. Grouping such different objectives and activities under a single category - namely, inquiries - is intrinsically difficult. Or the reason for the lack of attention paid to inquiries may simply be that the political issues raised by specific inquiries seem more important to commentators than the discussion of how politics is conducted through them. The situation is inexcusable, whatever its origin, for inquiries play a pivitol role in the delineation of public issues and public debate, even when their recommendations are not implemented.