The Defence (Inquiry) Regulations 2018 (the Regulations) prescribe matters providing for, and in relation to, inquiries concerning the Defence Force. Inquiries under these Regulations are not ends in themselves. Their purpose is to facilitate the making of decisions relating to the Defence Force by providing the most important enabler of a good decision—accurate, reliable and timely information.
Inquiries under these Regulations are designed to assist command in securing the proper functioning of the Defence Force; they are not about individuals as such and are not an external accountability mechanism. The legal powers and protections provided under these Regulations, such as the ability to compel the production of evidence, enable robust and thorough investigations that furnish commanders and other Defence leaders with the facts and circumstances associated with an incident or circumstance. Internal inquiries are critical to supporting informed decision-making by command about complex incidents that can affect all aspects of the Defence Force.
The Regulations provide for two flexible inquiry formats: a Commission of Inquiry and an Inquiry Officer Inquiry. The former will be used for higher level matters that are particularly complex and sensitive, while the latter will be used to inquire into more routine matters.
The Regulations replace the Defence (Inquiry) Regulations 1985 (the old Regulations), which allowed for five separate forms of inquiry: General Courts of Inquiry, Boards of Inquiry, Combined Boards of Inquiry, Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) Commissions of Inquiry and Inquiry Officer Inquiries.