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Gas Act 1965

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SCHEDULE 5E+W+S Inquiries into Accidents

1An inquiry in pursuance of a direction under section 17 of this Act with respect to an event shall be held by a competent person appointed by the Minister, and that person may conduct the inquiry either alone or with the assistance of an assessor or assessors so appointed.E+W+S

2The Minister may pay to the person appointed to hold the inquiry and to any assessor appointed to assist him such remuneration and allowances as the Minister may, with the approval of the Treasury, determine.E+W+S

3The person appointed to hold the inquiry (hereafter in this Schedule referred to as “the tribunal”) shall hold the inquiry in such manner and under such conditions as the tribunal thinks most effectual for ascertaining the causes, circumstances and effects of the events inquired into, and for enabling the tribunal to make the report hereafter in this Schedule mentioned.E+W+S

4The tribunal shall, for the purposes of the inquiry, have power—E+W+S

(a)to enter and inspect any place or building the entry or inspection of which appears to the tribunal requisite for the said purposes;

(b)by summons signed by the tribunal to require any person to attend, at such time and place as is specified in the summons, to give evidence or produce any documents in his custody or under his control which the tribunal considers it necessary for the purposes of the inquiry to examine;

(c)to require a person appearing at the inquiry to furnish to any other person appearing at the inquiry, on payment of such fee, if any, as the tribunal thinks fit, a copy of any documents offered, or proposed to be offered, in evidence by the first-mentioned person;

(d)to take evidence on oath, and for that purpose to administer oaths, or, instead of administering an oath, to require the person examined to make a declaration of the truth of the matter respecting which he is examined;

(e)to adjourn the inquiry from time to time; and

(f)subject to the foregoing sub-paragraphs, to regulate the procedure of the tribunal.

5A person attending as a witness before the tribunal shall be entitled to be paid by the Minister such expenses as would be allowed to a witness attending on subpoena before a court of record, and any dispute as to the amount to be so allowed shall be referred by the tribunal to a master of the Supreme Court who, on request signed by the tribunal, shall ascertain and certify the proper amount of the expenses.E+W+S

6The tribunal shall make a report to the Minister stating the causes, circumstances and effects of the event, adding any observations which the tribunal thinks it right to make, and the Minister shall cause copies of the report to be laid before Parliament.E+W+S

7If any person—E+W+S

(a)without reasonable excuse (proof whereof shall lie on him), and after having the expenses (if any) to which he is entitled tendered to him, fails to comply with any summons or requisition of the tribunal; or

(b)does any other thing which would, if the tribunal had been a court of law having power to commit for contempt, have been contempt of that court,

the tribunal may, by instrument signed by the tribunal, certify the offence of that person to the High Court or, in Scotland, the Court of Session, and the High Court or Court of Session may thereupon inquire into the alleged offence and after hearing any witnesses who may be produced against or on behalf of the person charged with the offence, and after hearing any statement that may be offered in defence, punish or take steps for the punishment of that person in like manner as if he had been guilty of contempt of the High Court or, as the case may be, the Court of Session.

8Any sums to be paid by the Minister under paragraph 2 or paragraph 5 of this Schedule shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament.E+W+S

9In the application of this Schedule to Scotland, for references to a master of the Supreme Court, to a witness attending on subpoena before a court of record, and to a summons there shall be respectively substituted references to the Auditor of the Court of Session, to a witness attending on citation the High Court of Justiciary, and to an order.E+W+S

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