The purpose of this preliminary issue was to consider the standard of proof that the Chairman should apply to issues of fact that arise in the evidence given to the Inquiry.
On 13 January 2016 the Chairman issued his ruling on the matter, which incorporates the Inquiry Counsel team’s note dated 16 December 2015 and the Chairman’s ‘minded to letter’ dated 17 December 2015.
The Chairman concluded (and the core participants agreed) that he should apply a flexible and variable standard of proof. This means that the Chairman’s starting point will be the civil standard (the ‘balance of probabilities’ – i.e. – whether it is more likely than not that an event occurred) but, where the context requires, and depending upon the issue under consideration, he may express his state of certainty or uncertainty with such accuracy as he can. This will permit the Chairman to find that a fact has been proven to the criminal standard where he is sure beyond reasonable doubt.