The Legal Perspective
The Secretary of State should be directed to reconsider her decision "according to law" if any one of these issues succeeds.
1: What is the purpose of a power to call a public inquiry?When the Secretary of State decided to hold a private inquiry rather than a public one did she consider that the purpose of an inquiry should be (or include) a desire to restore the confidence of the public in the Government's ability to handle a particular matter - what has been described as a "nationwide crisis of confidence"? If she didn't - then her decision was unlawful.
2: All the extra-judicial guidance given to the Government in recent years (and previously) about when to hold a public inquiry points towards a public inquiry in this case.Such guidance includes that given by:
Lord Mackay, Lord Chancellor, in his Note to all Government Departments;
Lord Justice Scott in the "Arms to Iraq" report;
Lord Justice Clarke in his report on the safety of The Thames following the Marchioness disaster;
and Professor Kennedy in his report on the Bristol Royal Infirmary crisis.
Was the Secretary of State free to ignore those indications in this case, and if so, why?
If she was not, her decision was unlawful.
3: The only significant judicial guidance on the matter is to be found in the recent decision of the Court overturning the decision of the Health Secretary not to hold a public inquiry arising out of the activities of Harold Shipman (the Wagstaff case).In that case the Court said that when the inquiry is not an internal departmental inquiry there is what amounts to a presumption in favour of a public inquiry.
Is that presumption to be applied here, and if not, why not?
If it is, then in the absence of compelling reasons to the counter the presumption, the Secretary of State's decision was unlawful.
4: Does the decision to hold the inquiry in private infringe the Claimants' and the media's fundamental/human right to freedom of speech?The Court in Wagstaff said that the decision in that case did infringe that right.
If the decision in this case did not infringe the claimants' (and media's) human right to freedom of speech, why did it not?
If it did, then the Secretary of State's decision was again unlawful.
(There are also questions about the suitability of Dr. Anderson and the procedures he has adopted, but these are not directly concerned with the issue of whether or not to have a public inquiry.)