Friday 5 August 2016

Independent Child Abuse Inquiry - Dame Lowell Goddard quits

Updated 6th August:

In a terse letter to the Home Secretary (Amber Rudd MP), the Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Abuse has resigned.

The Home Secretary's statement, accepting the resignation, may be read here.

There have been murmurings about matters such as the time Lowell Goddard took away from the inquiry, her remuneration and even about her ability.  Whether this played a part is unclear.

The BBC 4th August published the correspondence and a statement from Lowell Goddard.

The Inquiry, set up by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary,  operates under the terms of the Inquiries Act 2005.  The Act came into being as part of the so-called "Wash Up" in 2005.   A former Canadian Supreme Court Judge - Peter de Carteret Cory - is on record as saying that he could not "contemplate any self-respecting Canadian judge accepting an appointment to an inquiry constituted under the new proposed act." Essentially, the Act gives Ministers considerable control over any inquiry - Law Society Gazette 27th March 2014 - The Inquiries Act 2005 - Fit for purpose?

There has been some controversy over the fact that the inquiry has chosen to investigate the late Lord Janner, the only investigation (so far) into a specific individual - Law and Lawyers 1st August.  In particular, the family of Lord Janner see it as an attempt to try him even though he is not able to respond to any of the allegations - The Times 31st July.

The Chair of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has written to Lowell Goddard and the Home Secretary - see here.   The Committee plans to take evidence from the Home Secretary on this matter during the September sitting and the Chair has also invited Dame Lowell Goddard to give evidence to the Committee in September.

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