Inquiries reliant on support of affected parties if they are to succeed

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History suggests success for the Grenfell Tower inquiry hinges on its ability to navigate a complex political course fraught with sensitivities.

Legitimacy has been lost from probes of the past when public support deteriorated, usually led by those most intimately linked to the issue under examination.

Looming large over Sir Martin-Moore Bick as he begins the process of reviewing evidence will be the ongoing Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

Several victims' groups involved in the process have mutinied over its direction and withdrawn support, while progress was further mired by a string of top-level resignations.

Nearly three years after it was first announced by then-home secretary Theresa May in 2014, the inquiry finally held a first public evidence session in February.

In other cases, perceived shortcomings of inquiries can have profound effects.

The 1972 examination into the Bloody Sunday killings of 14 unarmed protesters on the streets of Londonderry, Northern Ireland by British troops sparked outrage when Lord Chief Justice John Widgery effectively absolved the soldiers of blame.

Decades of campaigning followed for a second inquiry, which led to the Saville Report, published more than 28 years later in 2010, and placed blame squarely with the British soldiers.

Bishop of Derry Edward Daly, who tended to the dying on Bloody Sunday, said of the first inquiry: "I always call Widgery the second atrocity, which it was."

For other probes, slow progress cast a shadow over proceedings.

Sir John Chilcot's inquiry into the Iraq War was repeatedly criticised by the families of soldiers killed during the conflict.

After the conclusion of public evidence sessions in 2011, bereaved relatives became outraged at the length of time taken to publish a final report, some of whom claiming it had prolonged their suffering.

It was eventually released in July 2016 and condemned Tony Blair's decision to take the country to war, but the legacy of the process will be seen by many as one of delays.

Public inquiries have succeeded, however, in bringing social issues to national attention. 

The 1999 Macpherson Report into the killing of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993 branded British policing practice "institutionally racist".

Its findings sparked national debate about the treatment of ethnic minorities and placed the work of detectives under the microscope for years to come.

For the Grenfell Tower inquiry, Sir Martin is operating in a climate of heightened tensions surrounding the cause of the inferno and will have a battle to sustain trust in his work.

Survivors and grieving families have already expressed distrust in his abilities and the appetite for answers will add to the pressure he faces to deliver an interim report quickly.

Past lessons suggest that what follows could prove to be the definitive account of a disaster which horrified the nation or the first draft in a prolonged search for truth.