Commissions of Inquiry Act

Published: 1911-07-13

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Commissions of Inquiry Act

[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS





1. Short title
2. Appointment of commissioners.
3. Death, etc., of a commissioner.
4. President, quorum, etc.
5. Commission not affected by change of Governor-General.
6. Secretary.
7. Duties of commissioners.
8. Oath of office.
9. Commissioners’ power for regulating proceedings.
10. Commissioner’s powers to summon and examine witnesses.
11. Immunity of persons executing, and of witnesses, before a commission.
12. Appearance of counsel, etc.
13. Duty of witnesses summoned.
14. Attendance of peace officers to preserve order, etc.
15. Payment of commissioners, etc.
16. Proceedings, etc., free from stamp duties.
17. Commissions to be published in Gazette.

FIRST SCHEDULE (Section 2) — Form of Commission

SECOND SCHEDULE (Section 8) — Form of Oath to be Taken by a

THIRD SCHEDULE (Section 10) — Summons to Witness


[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS


An Act to enable the Governor-General to appoint

Commissioners to inquire into and report on matters referred
to them.

[Commencement 13th July, 1911]
1. This Act may be cited as the Commissions of

Inquiry Act.
2. Whenever it shall appear to the Governor-General

that it will be for the public benefit so to do, the Governor-
General may issue a commission in the form of the First
Schedule to this Act appointing persons, not less than three in
number, to inquire into and report upon any matter stated in
such commission as the subject of inquiry.

3. The Governor-General may add to the persons
named in any such commission, and in case any person
appointed or added under this Act shall die, or resign, or
desire to be discharged, or refuse, or become incapable to
act, the Governor-General may appoint a new commis-
sioner in his place, and all powers and duties by this Act
conferred and imposed on a commissioner shall be
exercised and performed by the commissioner so added or

4. (1) Every such commission shall state the name
of one of such commissioners as president and shall state
the number of commissioners necessary to form a quorum.
All the powers of the commissioners under this Act may be
exercised by such quorum; and if the president is not
present at any meeting a vice-president for the meeting
shall be appointed by a majority of votes of those present at
the meeting, and so long as he acts as vice-president he
shall have all the powers, rights and privileges of president.

(2) If the commissioners shall in any case be equally
divided on any question that arises during the proceedings
of the commission, the president or vice-president shall
have a second or casting vote.

13 of 1911
8 of 1935
31 of 1962
G.N. 172/1964
E.L.A.O., 1974
19 of 1975
10 of 1983
4 of 1996

Short title

Appointment of
31 of 1962, s. 2.

First Schedule.

Death, etc., of a

quorum, etc.

Division of
opinion of


(3) Every such commission shall also specify when
such inquiry shall be made, and the report thereof rendered,
and prescribe how such commission shall be executed.

(4) The commission shall be held in public unless
the commissioners shall deem it in the public interest, or
necessary for the efficient conduct of the inquiry, that it
should be held in camera; but the commissioners may in
any event, if they see fit, hear the evidence of any witness
in camera, and exclude any person or persons for the
preservation of order, for the efficient conduct of the
inquiry, or for any other reason.

5. 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 who issued it.

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

7. (1) It shall be the duty of the commissioners to
make a full, faithful and impartial inquiry into the matter
specified in the commission, and to conduct the 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 the inquiry.

(2) The Governor-General shall at the earliest
possible date, transmit a copy of the commissioners’ report
duly signed by the commissioners, to both Houses of

8. It shall be the duty of each commissioner
appointed under this Act to make and subscribe an oath in

the form of the Second Schedule to this Act, which oath
may be taken before the Governor-General, or before such
person as the Governor-General may appoint, and shall be
deposited by the commissioner with the Registrar General.

Particulars of

31 of 1962, s. 3.

Commission not
affected by
change of


Duties of

31 of 1962, s. 5.

Oath of office.

31 of 1962, s. 4.;
G.N. 172/1964
s. 8.
Second Schedule.


[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

9. The commissioners acting under this Act may
make such rules for their own guidance, and the conduct
and management of proceedings before them, and the
hours and times and places 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 The Bahamas
as they may think fit, subject only to the terms of their

10. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, any
commissioner shall have the powers of a justice of the
Supreme Court to —

(a) summon and compel the attendance of witnesses;
(b) call for the production of documents or things

including the power to retain and examine the

(c) examine persons appearing before them on oath;
(d) subject to the Rules of the Supreme Court, issue

a commission or request to examine witnesses

and a summons in the form set out in the Third Schedule
signed by one or more of the commissioners may, with
such modifications and adaptations as may be necessary,
be substituted for and shall be equivalent to, and for the
purposes of any law have the same effect as, in any formal
proceedings in the Supreme Court for summoning or
enforcing the attendance of witnesses and compelling the
production of documents or things.

(2) Oaths may be administered by one of the
commissioners or the secretary.

(3) For the purpose of the exercise by a
commissioner of any of the powers mentioned in subsection
(1) references to a justice of the Supreme Court in any other
law applicable thereto shall, subject to this Act, have effect
as including such a commissioner save that, where any such
power is exercised in respect to the summoning of any
person to give or produce evidence as to any banker’s book
within the meaning of section 177 of the Evidence Act, such
summons shall only be issued by the president of the

power for
10 of 1983, s. 2.

powers to
summon and
10 of 1983, s. 3.

4 of 1996, s. 180
and Sch.
Ch. 65.


11. (1) No commissioner or person assisting a
commission in the conduct of its inquiry shall be liable to
any action, suit or proceedings for any matter or thing done
in the due execution or carrying out of the commission.

(2) No person attending before a commission shall
be excused from answering any question or producing any
document or thing by reason that the answer thereto or the
production thereof, as the case may be, would tend to be
self incriminating but notwithstanding any other law to the
contrary no answer given or the fact of such production
shall be used or be admissible as evidence against that
person in any proceedings except in criminal proceedings
in which that person may be charged with having given
false evidence before the commission or having conspired
with or procured others to do so.

12. (1) Any person whose conduct is the subject of
inquiry 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.

(2) Any witness who shall wilfully give false
evidence in any such inquiry concerning the subject matter
of such inquiry shall be guilty of perjury and be liable to be
prosecuted and punished accordingly.

13. (1) If any person —
(a) on being duly summoned as a witness before a

commission makes default in attending; or
(b) being in attendance as a witness refuses to take

an oath legally required by the commission to be
taken, or to produce any document in his power
or control legally required by the commission to
be produced by him, or to answer any question
to which the commission may legally require an
answer; or

(c) does any other thing which would, if the
commission had been a court of law having
power to commit for contempt, have been in
contempt of that court,

Immunity of
executing, and of
witnesses, before
a commission.

10 of 1983, s. 3.

Appearance of
counsel, etc.

8 of 1935, s. 2.

Duty of witnesses
10 of 1983, s. 4.


[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

the president of the commission may certify the offence of
that person under his hand to the Supreme Court and the
Court may thereupon inquire into the alleged 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 in the

(2) A person referred to in section 12(1), any
witness and their respective representatives appearing
before a commission shall be entitled, subject to section
11(2), to the same immunities and privileges as are parties,
witnesses and representatives in civil proceedings before
the Supreme Court.

14. The Governor-General may direct the Commis-
sioner of Police to detail peace officers to attend upon the
commissioners to preserve order during the proceedings of
the commission, and to serve summonses and to perform
such other duties as the commissioners shall direct.

15. The commissioners, the secretary and any other
person whose services a commission deems necessary to
engage shall be entitled to receive and shall be paid
remuneration for their attendance at an inquiry under this
Act at such rates as may be approved by the Governor-
General from time to time and the said remuneration and
the incidental expenses of the inquiry shall be payable out
of the Consolidated Fund by warrant in the usual manner.

16. All commissions and all process and proceedings
before the commissioners under this Act shall be free from
stamp duty.

17. All commissions under this Act and all revoca-
tions of any such commission, shall be published in the
Gazette, and shall take effect from the date of such

Attendance of
peace officers to
preserve order,

Payment of
10 of 1983, s. 5.;
31 of 1962, s. 6.

Proceedings, etc.,
free from stamp

Commissions to
be published in



ELIZABETH THE SECOND by the Grace of God, of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of
Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the
Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.


To .................................................................................................
(Names of Commissioners)

WHEREAS We have deemed it expedient, for divers good
causes and considerations, that a diligent and full inquiry
should forthwith be made into (here state subject or subjects of

KNOW YE THEREFORE that, reposing great trust and
confidence in your zeal, discretion and integrity, We by these
presents authorise and appoint you, or any (here state the
number of quorum) or more of you, to make a diligent and full
inquiry into (here state subject or subjects), and We do by these
presents give and grant to you or any (here state the number of
quorum) or more of you, all the powers conferred on
commissioners by the Commissions of Inquiry Act for the
purposes of making the aforesaid inquiry, and We require that
within (here state numbers of months) months after the date of
this commission you do certify to Us, under your hands, or
under the hands of any (here state number of quorum) or more
of you, your several proceedings, and your opinion and
recommendations on the premises; and this commission shall
continue in full force, although the proceedings thereunder
shall. not be continued by adjournment from time to lime, and
you or any (here state number of quorum) or more of you, may
from time to time, if you see fit, without waiting for your full
and complete report, certify your several proceedings as the
same shall be respectively perfected; and We hereby command
all Government Officers, and other persons whomsoever,
within The Bahamas, that they be assistant to you and each of
you in the execution of these presents, and We appoint you
(here state name of president) to be the president of this
commission, and give and grant to you the powers conferred on
such a president by the Commissions of Inquiry Act.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF We have caused these Our
Letters to be made patent and the Public Seal of The Bahamas
to be hereunto affixed.
WITNESS His Excellency
Governor-General of The Bahamas this .................................
day of .............................. 19 ......................


[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS


Minister responsible for Inquiries.
N.B. Any of the powers in this form may be struck out by the

Governor-General at his discretion, in granting the commission.
The time for executing this commission may be extended,

by order of the Governor-General endorsed on the commission,
under the hand of the Minister responsible for Inquiries.


E.L.A.O., 1974; 19 of 1975, s. 2.
I, ................................................. having been appointed under a
commission, dated the ............ day of ............................. 19 .....
issued by the Governor-General to be a commissioner to inquire
into the matter specified in the said commission, do swear by
Almighty God that I will faithfully, fully and impartially, and to
the best of my ability discharge the trust and perform the duties
devolving upon me by virtue of the said commission.



10 of 1983.
To A.B. (name of person summoned, and his calling and
residence). You are hereby summoned to appear before (here
name the commissioners) appointed by the Governor-General
to inquire (state briefly the subject of inquiry) at (place) upon
the day of 19 at o’clock and to give evidence
respecting such inquiry; (if person summoned is to produce any
documents, add) and you are required to bring with you
(specify the documents required).

Given under the hand of .......................................................
Commissioner this ........................ day ........................... 19 ......

E.L.A.O., 1974;
19 of 1975, s. 2

31 of 1962, s. 7.

10 of 1983.