21 August 2023

Publication of the Chair’s Ruling on Restriction Orders and Special Advocates

The Chair of the Independent Inquiry relating to Afghanistan has today (Monday 21 August) issued his ruling on applications for restriction orders and special advocates – August 2023 Ruling.

Following submissions from Core Participants and the Media, Lord Justice (Sir Charles) Haddon-Cave has ruled there are strong national security reasons to grant restrictions over the publication or disclosure of sensitive evidence and material relating to UK Special Forces and their operations in Afghanistan, and relating to on-going investigations, and investigatory techniques, of the Royal Military Police. He will consider applications for specific restrictions on a case-by-case basis in due course as the Inquiry progresses.

Explaining his decision, Sir Charles said:

“The Inquiry has been tasked with considering grave allegations: that numerous unlawful killings were carried out by members of the Special Forces in Afghanistan; that these killings were covered up; and that the subsequent investigations by the Royal Military Police were inadequate.

I intend to hear as much evidence as I can in public, however, as the Terms of Reference acknowledge, it will be necessary to have CLOSED hearings to ensure the protection of sensitive material and the security of witnesses. This ruling explains how I will approach this as the Inquiry progresses.  The Inquiry legal team and I will vigorously pursue all relevant lines of inquiry and carefully interrogate all the evidence, in OPEN or CLOSED as appropriate, and I will publish an OPEN report in due course which will include the material which can be made public.”

The Chair’s ruling also contains two protocols: a Publication Protocol which sets out the procedures which the Inquiry intends to adopt regarding publication of documents by the Inquiry, and a Restriction Order and Hearing Protocol which sets out the process which the Inquiry will follow in respect of applications for Restriction Orders made under section 19 of the 2005 Inquiries Act.  These should be read together with the Protocol for Disclosure of Information.

27 June 2023
06 April 2023

The Right Honourable Sir Charles Haddon-Cave, Chair of the Independent Inquiry relating to Afghanistan (‘the Inquiry’) is today inviting those with a significant interest in the terms of reference to apply to be designated as core participants to the Inquiry under rule 5 of the Inquiry Rules 2006.

A core participant is a person

  • Who played, or who may have played, a direct and significant role in relation to the matters to which the inquiry relates, or
  • Who has a significant interest in an important aspect of the matters to which the Inquiry relates, or
  • Who may be subject to explicit or significant criticism during the Inquiry proceedings, or in an interim or final report.

A person may volunteer evidence, or be asked to provide evidence, to the Inquiry whether or not they are a core participant. However, in contrast to witnesses, those designated as core participants will (either through their legal representatives and/or personally) be able to:

  • Receive electronic disclosure of evidence the Chair considers relevant to their participation, subject to any restrictions made under section 19 of the Inquiries Act 2005 including terms of confidentiality, in advance of this being disclosed at a public hearing.
  • Make opening and closing statements within the Inquiry.
  • Propose lines of questioning of other witnesses to be called by the Inquiry.
  • Apply to ask questions of witnesses directly.

Further information about core participant status is included in the IIA Core Participant notice and Q&A document which can be found on our website under the Documents page.

Applications for designation as a core participant should be made in writing and addressed to the Chair of the Inquiry, the Right Honourable Sir Charles Haddon-Cave, via the solicitor to the Inquiry Piers Doggart who can be contacted by email: within the next 2 weeks and is to be received no later than 16:00 on Thursday 20 April 2023.

22 March 2023

The Independent Inquiry relating to Afghanistan was today officially launched by the Chair, The Right Honourable Lord Justice Haddon-Cave.  The full transcript of his opening statement can be found on our documents page.

15 December 2022

Press release