Responding to officials’ questions

Officials are only allowed to ask questions that are within the scope of their authorisation. They are allowed to ask questions to help them understand documents they find as well as, in some cases, other facts relating to the investigation.

Officials’ ability to ask questions will depend on the type of investigation, the investigating authority and the broader legal framework in the relevant jurisdiction.

You should seek legal advice before allowing employees to answer questions. Once given, answers will be difficult to retract. When you or an employee does answer questions, you should: 

  • keep answers short, factual and accurate. Do not volunteer additional information or views
  • if you do not understand the question or know the answer, say so clearly. Do not guess or speculate
  • if the question is vague, unclear or complex, ask the officials to send a written request
  • if the officials insist on an immediate reply ask them to write down the question and give a short written answer but reserve the right to supplement the answer later
  • ensure that a written record is kept of all questions asked and answers given along with any information that you agree to provide later
  • ask for a copy of any recording made by the officials
  • reserve the right to amend any statement made or answers given

In some cases, penalties can be imposed for a failure to respond so make sure staff consult with a lawyer before answering questions.