Public Inquiries

They have exceptional capabilities, their strengths are enormous and we have been extremely pleased with the work the public law team has done.

Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession, 2016

The team is consistently recognised for its public inquiry expertise, with over twenty five years of experience representing individuals, public figures and organisations in all the major inquiries.

Currently, we are acting for a number of clients in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. We have recently acted for clients in Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry investigating the culture, practices and ethics of the press; the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Inquiry into the role of monitoring, supervisory and regulatory bodies in the failings of this NHS Trust; the Chilcott inquiry into the Iraq conflict, Lord Hutton’s inquiry investigating the death of Dr David Kelly and the Baha Mousa Inquiry into the mistreatment of detainees in Iraq.

Inquiries are set up to address significant public concern about major events in order to learn the facts of what happened as well as lessons for the future. They are high profile, emotionally charged and the focus of intense media scrutiny. Appearing before one can be a daunting experience, whether you are an individual, senior professional, public official, major corporation or public sector body.

We understand that you will have wider interests at stake, be they reputational, professional, commercial or financial, and we can carefully help you chart a course which focuses on those concerns, alongside the immediate demands of the inquiry.  

You may be asked by the Inquiry to provide evidence as a witness. You may also apply to be designated a core participant if you played a direct and significant role in the events under investigation, you have a significant interest in the events, or if you face potential criticism when the inquiry publishes its final report. 

Being a core participant may mean that you face greater scrutiny, but you will have the advantage of being able to access the Inquiry’s evidence and engaging fully in the hearings. 

We will work very closely with you to gain complete insight into your situation from the outset. The breadth of our expertise means that you can be confident that your interests are taken care of from the moment you instruct us, from initial contact with the inquiry and assisting you prepare your evidence to ensuring you are ready to appear at a hearing, and taking care of your reputation management needs throughout.

Our public inquiry lawyers have acted – in particular, representing core participants and key witnesses – in many of the major inquiries of our recent years.

Recent cases

  • The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
  • Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry investigating the culture, practices and ethics of the press 
  • The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry: Robert Francis QC’s inquiry into the role of  the monitoring, supervisory and regulatory bodies in the failings of this NHS Trust
  • The Iraq Inquiry: Sir John Chilcott’s inquiry to identify lessons to be learnt from the Iraq conflict 
  • The Baha Mousa Public Inquiry: Sir William Gage’s inquiry into the mistreatment of detainees in Iraq 
  • Sir Michael Bichard’s inquiry into child protection procedures in Humberside Police and Cambridgeshire Constabulary further to the deaths of Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells 
  • Lord Butler’s inquiry into the intelligence which the British government had about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction 
  • Lord Hutton’s inquiry investigating the death of Dr David Kelly 
  • Sir Michael Peat’s inquiry into alleged misconduct within the royal household after the collapse of the Paul Burrell trial 
  • The Equitable Life Inquiry: Lord Penrose’s inquiry into the problems at Equitable Life 
  • The Shipman Inquiry: Dame Janet Smith’s inquiry into the activities of Harold Shipman 
  • The Marchioness Inquiry: Lord Justice Clarke’s inquiry into the circumstances of the Marchioness disaster 
  • The BSE Inquiry: Lord Phillip’s inquiry into the spread of BSE (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in the UK 
  • The Bloody Sunday Inquiry: Lord Saville’s inquiry into the events in Derry on Sunday 30 January 1972  


Led by Adam Chapman, Stephen ParkinsonEmily Carter and Sophie Kemp, our expertise in public inquiries extends across the firm and includes members of our clinical negligence, disputes and criminal teams, allowing us to resource a substantial and truly experienced inquiry team.

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