Commissions of Inquiry Act

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Commissions of Inquiv (CAP. 91 1



Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.
2. Power to Governor-General to appoint commissions of

. .

3. Filling up of vacancies and alterations of commissions.
4. Death etc., of Governor-General not to affect

5. Oath of commissioner.
6. Appointment of secretary.
7. Duties of commissioners.
8. Chairman to have casting vote.
9. Commissioners may make rules and adjourn meetings.

10. Powers in relation to witnesses.
11. Representation by Counsel.
12. Punishment of witnesses for perjury.
13. Power with respect to contempt before commission.
14. Attendance of witnesses, payment of expenses.
15. Statement of witness before commission not admissible.
16. Police to attend at commissions.
17. Remuneration of commissioners and secretary.
18. Commissions free from stamp duty.
19. Publication of commissions.
20. Recovery of penalties.



Commissions of Inquiry (CAP. 91 3


(29th July, 1880.) 511880.

S.R.O. 2211956.

1. This Act may be cited as the Commissions of Short title.
Inquiry Act.

2. It shall be lawful for the Governor-General g;zfnE-General
whenever he shall deem it advisable, to issue a commission to appoint
appointing one or more commissioners, and authorising such ;;zr;siuns of
commissioners, or any quorum of them therein mentioned,
to inquire into the conduct or management of any depart-
ment of the public service in Antigua and Barbuda, or of
any public officer of Antigua and Barbuda, or of any parish
or district thereof, or into any matter in which an inquiry
would, in the opinion of the Governor-General, be for the
public welfare. Each such commission shall specify the sub-
ject of inquiry, and may, in the discretion of the Governor-
General, if there is more than one commissioner, direct which
commissioner shall be chairman, and direct when such in-
quiry shall be made; if it shall be made within Antigua and
Barbuda or outside of Antigua and Barbuda or partly within
Antigua and Barbuda and partly outside of Antigua and
Barbuda, and the report thereof rendered, and prescribed
how such commission shall be executed, and may direct
whether the inquiry shall, or shall not, be held in public.
In the absence of a direction to the contrary, the inquiry
shall be held in public, but the commissioners shall never-
theless be entitled to exclude any particular person, or per-
sons, for the preservation of order, for the due conduct of
the inquiry, or for any other reason:

Provided that, when an inquiry, as aforesaid, shall be
directed not to be held in public, it shall not be lawful for
any person, without the authority of the Governor-General,
to write, print, publish, circulate, or make public, or to pro-
cure for the purpose of writing, printing, publishing, cir-
culating, or making public, or to cause to be written, printed,
published, circulated, or made public, or to be in any way
concerned in the writing, printing, publication, circulation,


CAP. 9X) Commissions of Inquiry

Filling up of
vacancies and
alterations of

Death &c., of
not to affect

Oath pf

Appointment of

Duties of

or making public of, the evidence, or any part thereof, taken
on such inquiry, or the proceedings, or any part thereof,
on such inquiry; and any person so offending shall be guilty
of a misdemeanour, and shall be liable to pay a fine not
exceeding three thousand dollars, or to be imprisoned for
any period not exceeding one year, or both.

3 . In case any commissioner shall be or become unable
or unwilling to act, or shall die, the Governor-General may
appoint another commissioner in his place; and any com-
mission issued under this Act may be altered, as the
Governor-General may deem fit, by any subsequent com-
mission issued by the Governor-General, or may be revoked
altogether by a notification to that effect published in the

4. No commission issued under this Act shall lapse
by reason of, or be otherwise affected by, the death, absence,
or removal of the Governor-General issuing the same.

5 . It shall be the duty of each commissioner appointed
under this Act to make and subscribe an oath that he will,
faithfully, fully, impartially, and to the best of his ability,
discharge the trust, and perform the duties, devolving upon
him by virtue of such commission, which oath may be taken
before any Justice of the Peace or Magistrate, and shall be
deposited by the commissioner with the Governor-General.

6. The Governor-General may appoint a secretary to
attend the sittings of the commission, to record their pro-
ceedings, to keep their papers, summon and minute the
testimony of witnesses, and generally to perform such duties,
connected with such inquiry, as the commissioners shall
prescribe, subject to the directions, if any, of the

7. It shall be the duty of the commissioners, after tak-
ing such oath, to make a full faithful, and impartial inquiry
into the matter specified in such commission, and to con-
duct such inquiry in accordance with the directions, if any,
in the commission, and, in due course, to report to the
Governor-General, in writing, the result of such inquiry,
and also, when required, to furnish to the Governor-General,
a full statement of the proceedings of such commission, and


Commissions of Inquiry (CAP. 91

of the reasons leading to the conclusions arrived at or

8. If the commissioners shall, in any case, be equally Chairman to
have casting divided in any question that arises during the proceedings vote,

of the commission, the chairman of the commission shall
have a second or casting vote.

9. The commissioners acting under this Act may make Commissioners
may make rules such rules for their own guidance, and the conduct and and

management of proceedings before them, and the hours and meetings.
times and places within or outside of Antigua and Barbuda
as the case may be for their sittings, not inconsistent with
their commission, as they may, from time to time, think
fit, and may, from time to time, adjourn for such time and
to such place within or outside of Antigua and Barbuda as
the case may be, as they may think fit, subject only to the
terms of their commission.

10. Commissioners acting under this Act shall have F';rnitno
the powers of a Judge of the High Court to summon ,itnesses.
witnesses, and to call for the production of books, plans,
and documents, and to examine witnesses and parties con-
cerned on oath, and no commissioner shall be liable to any
action or suit for any matter or thing done by him as such
commissioner. All summonses for the attendance of witnesses
or other persons, or for the production of documents, may
be in the form given in the Schedule, and shall be signed Schedule.
by one of the commissioners. and oaths may be administered
by any one of the commissioners, or by their secretary.

11. Any person whose conduct is the subject of inquiry ~ ~ ~ ~ , " ~ f ~ ~
under this Act, or who is in any way implicated, or concerned
in the matter under inquiry, shall be entitled to be represented
by counsel at the whole of the inquiry, and any other person
who may consider it desirable that he should be so represented
may, by leave of the commission, be represented in the
manner aforesaid.

12. Any witness who shall wilfully give false evidence $E;L;:rof
in any such inquiry, concerning the subject matter of such perjury.
inquiry, shall be guilty of perjury, and be liable to be pro-
secuted and punished accordingly.


CAP. 91) Commissions of Inquiry

Power with
respect to
contempt before

Attendance of
payment of

13. If any person does anything that would, if a com-
mission of inquiry under this Act had been a Court of law
having power to commit for contempt, have been contempt
of that Court; the chairman of the commission of inquiry
or, where there is only one commissioner, that commissioner,
may certify the offence of that person under his hand to the
High Court and the Court may thereupon inquire the alleg-
ed offence and after hearing any witnesses who may be
produced against or on behalf of the person charged with
the offence, and after hearing any statement that may be
offered in defence, punish or take steps for the punishment
of that person in like manner as if he had been guilty of
contempt of the Court.

14. All persons summoned to attend and give
evidence, or to produce books, plans or documents, or any
other matter, at any sitting of any such commission, shall
be bound to obey the summons served upon them as fully,
in all respects, as witnesses are bound to obey subpoenas
issued from the High Court, and shall be entitled to the like
expenses as if they had been summoned to attend the High
Court on a criminal trial, if the same shall be allowed by
the commissioners, but the commissioners may disallow the
whole or any part of such expenses in any case, if they think
fit. Orders for the payment of such witnesses shall be made,
as nearly as may be, as orders are made for the payment
of witnesses at the High Court, and shall be paid at such
time and in such manner as the Governor-General may
direct. Every person refusing or omitting, without sufficient
cause, to attend at the time and place mentioned in the sum-
mons served on him, and every person attending, but leav-
ing the commission without the permission of the
commissioners, or refusing to answer, or to answer fully and
satisfactorily to the best of his knowledge and belief, all ques-
tions put to him by or with the concurrence of the commis-
sioners, or refusing or omitting, without sufficient cause, to
produce any books, plans, or documents, or other matters
in his possession or under his control, and mentioned or refer-
red to ip the summons served on him, and every person who
shall, at any sitting of the commission, wilfully insult any
commissioner, or the secretary, or wilfully interrupt the pro-
ceedings of the commission, shall be liable, on summary con-
viction, to a penalty not exceeding three thousand dollars
or to imprisonment for one year or both.


Commissions of Inquiry (CAP. 91 7

15. No statement made by any person who is called z;',"~;;:;:~
as a witness before any commission of inquiry, or any com- commiss;on
missioners appointed in pursuance of this Act, in answer admissible.
to any question put by or before such commission or com-
missioners, shall, except in cases of indictments for perjury,
be admissible in evidence in any proceeding, civil or criminal.

16. The Governor-General may direct the Commis- fp~;m~i ," ,~~,"~
sioner of Police or any other officer of the Police Force to
detail constables to attend upon any such commissioners to
preserve order during the proceedings of the commission,
and to perform such other duties as usually pertain to their
office when in attendance upon the High Court, and to serve
summonses on witnesses, and to perform such ministerial
duties as such commissioners shall direct.

17. The Governor-General may direct what Remuneration co missioners of
remuneration, if any, shall be paid to any commissioners and
acting under this Act, and to their secretary, and to any other
persons employed in or about any such commission, and
may direct payment of any other expenses attendant upon
the carrying out of any such commission, or upon any pro-
ceedings for any penalty under this Act. Such sums, so
directed to be paid, shall be paid by the Accountant-General
out of the ordinary cash balance in the Treasury.

18. All commissions and all process and proceedings z",$,"2rd$
before the commissioners under this Act shall be free from
stamp duty.

19. All commissions under this Act, and all revoca- f;LzFnspf
tions of any such commissions, shall be published in the
Gazette, and shall take effect from the date of such publication.

20. No proceedings shall be commenced for any E z ; z . o f
penalty under this Act, except by the direction of the
Attorney-Geheral, or of the commissioners. The commis-
sioners may direct their secretary, or such other person as
they may think fit, to commence and prosecute the pro-
ceedings for such penalty.


8 CAP. 91) Commissions of Inqui?-y



To A.B. (name of person summoned, and his calling and residence,
if known).

You are hereby summoned to appear before (here name the
commissioners) appointed by the Governor-General to inquire (state
briejy the subject of inquiry) at (place), upon the day
of , 19 , at o'clock in the

noon, and to give evidence respecting such inquiry,
(if the person summoned is to produce any documents, add) and you are
required to bring with you (specify the books, plans, and documents

Therefore fail not at your peril.
Given under the hand of , Commissioner,

this day of , 19
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