Child Sex Abuse Inquiry: A very British legal coup at the Home Office

Westminster Confidential

Ben Emmerson Pic Credit: UN Ben Emmerson
Pic Credit: UN

The appointment of Lady Lovell Goddard, the New Zealand judge, to head  a new statutory inquiry into child sex abuse yesterday is actually a very remarkable coup for the lawyer. Ben Emmerson, the QC, advising the now dissolved  independent panel.,

Theresa May, the home secretary, having been backed into a corner by Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the lord chief justice, who decided to refuse permission for any sitting British judge from chairing the inquiry, had a very unenviable task to find anyone to take up the challenge. The favourite, Lady Hale, was out of the running.

She could have chosen a retired judge- but given the length of the inquiry- this might not have been as good idea. She could have chosen a non judge- but people might have been worried whether they could find anybody with the status and authority to chair a statutory inquiry.


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