By the end of 1990s the public inquiry had come to play a prominent role in British political life. Where the authority of politicians is often in doubt, the authority of the public inquiry is unquestioned and seen as representing an impartial way to establish the truth. Yet the public play no role in the formation of an inquiry’s judgment and are simply spectators. In this fascinating Battle of Ideas debate eminent speakers have it out and audience members raise the stakes. Did we really not know what happened at Hillsborough, on Bloody Sunday or in Iraq until an un-elected judge mulled it over years later?