Sir, Your editorial “In defence of eyebrows and cosy fireside chats at BoE” (March 4) rightly emphasises the recent progress that the Bank of England has made in improving its own governance, and the need for it to have wide and sensitive intelligence gathering capabilities, and to use them wisely.
But this point is quite separate from the accountability that is at stake in the Grabiner inquiry. As Charles Béar QC’s opinion underlines, there are two potential tests of conduct here. The first asks the normative question: in this case, whether staff at the Bank ought to have been aware of and/or acted with regard to forex market manipulation. The second asks the factual question: whether staff at the Bank were in fact aware of or involved in actual or potential market manipulation.
As counsel’s opinion makes clear, the first test is the normal legal standard for inquiries into serious professional misconduct. The second is a lower and narrower standard, below that normally used in such cases. Yet the second is the standard adopted by the Grabiner inquiry’s terms of reference.