Acting in her role as guardian of the public interest, the Attorney General Suella Braverman QC MP has extended the undertaking she granted to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
In broad terms, the extension to the undertaking means legal persons cannot refuse to answer questions on the basis that to do so would risk self-incrimination, which is a right granted to them in law. It also means that their answers cannot be used in evidence in any future prosecution against them. However, the undertaking does not provide any form of immunity from prosecution to any person whatsoever.
A legal person is an entity which, like an individual person, has its own legal obligations and rights. Examples of what can amount to a legal person include a limited liability partnership or an incorporated company.
In making the decision, the Attorney General took into consideration all representations received including those from victims and their representatives, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Metropolitan Police. She has since concluded that extending the undertaking will not jeopardise the police investigation or the prospects of a future criminal prosecution.
The Attorney General believes that the undertaking is needed to enable the Inquiry to continue to hear vital evidence about the circumstances and causes of the fire. Without it she has concluded that some witnesses would be likely to decline giving evidence.
Commenting on her decision, the Attorney General said:
“The bereaved, survivors and their relatives have been very much in my mind in making my decision and I hope that the extension to the undertaking helps them to find the truth about the circumstances of the fire.
It is important to know that I am granting the extension in the knowledge that it will not jeopardise any future criminal investigation or prosecution and that it does not offer anyone immunity from prosecution.”
A factsheet on the undertaking is attached.
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