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On 20 December 2018, the House of Lords is scheduled to debate the following motion moved by Lord Campbell-Savours (Labour) “that this House takes note of the remit of, and arrangements for the handling of evidence by, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse”.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) is an independent inquiry established in February 2015 under the provisions of the Inquiries Act 2005 (the 2005 Act), having its origins in a non-statutory inquiry established in July 2014. The IICSA’s terms of reference are:

To consider the extent to which state and non-state institutions have failed in their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation; to consider the extent to which those failings have since been addressed; to identify further action needed to address any failings identified; to consider the steps which it is necessary for state and non-state institutions to take in order to protect children from such abuse in future; and to publish a report with recommendations.

It is chaired by Professor Alexis Jay OBE and is structured around three core projects: the truth project, the research project and the public hearings project. The latter of which resembles a conventional public inquiry in which witnesses give evidence on oath and are subject to questioning. In its work the committee will be undertaking 13 investigative strands, examining both themes and institutions. The IICSA has the power to compel individuals to give evidence where it deems it appropriate, as provided for under the 2005 Act and the Inquiry Rules 2006 (the Rules).

This Lords Library Briefing provides background information on the IICSA, followed by information on the provisions of the 2005 Act and the Rules, with a focus on the taking and handling of evidence by statutory inquiries. The briefing also examines the House of Lords Inquiry Act 2005 Committee’s post-legislative scrutiny work and how the IICSA has approached the handling of evidence in its work.

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