The Leveson Inquiry has already achieved much, and up-coming evidence from politicians promises more. But Lord Justice Leveson is nonetheless right to propose that the second phase of hearings – to consider the specifics of what happened at the News of the World – be shelved.
The cost to the public purse is not the only consideration. There is also the matter of need. By legal necessity, the second phase was only ever to take place after any criminal investigations had been concluded. Given the complexity of the case, and the likelihood of appeal, that could be several years away. And with all available evidence by then already evaluated by the courts, there is little cause to duplicate the effort at another round of hearings.
One need look no further than the Iraq Inquiry – now approaching its third year, at a total cost of more than £5m – to appreciate the benefits of brevity.