Former Court of Appeal judge and crossbench life peer Baroness Hallett has today been appointed as Chair of the upcoming COVID-19 Public Inquiry.

Baroness Hallett appears to be a strongly qualified Chair, having previously conducted an array of high-profile inquests and inquiries. Her most notable works include acting as coroner for the inquests into the deaths of the 52 victims of the 7 July 2005 bombings in London, and chairing the Iraq Facilities Investigations from 2019 to date.

The COVID-19 Inquiry is set to commence in spring 2022. The Government has confirmed that a period of consultation will now begin with ministers from the devolved governments, and that draft terms of reference will be published in the new year. We are pleased to hear that affected groups will be consulted on the draft terms before they are finalised.

Baroness Hallett has said that “I shall do my utmost to ensure the Inquiry answers as many questions as possible about the UK’s response to the pandemic so that we can all learn lessons for the future.” Under the Inquiries Act 2005, as Chair she will have powers to summon witnesses to give evidence under oath, and to compel the release of documents related to the pandemic.

We will continue to remain up to date with all news and updates on the forthcoming Inquiry.