Friday, October 24, 2014

Is sex abuse inquiry one reason the government is trying to dismantle judicial review?

Fiona Woolf: Unsuitable to chair historic sex abuse inquiry? [Image: BBC.]

The BBC is reporting that a legal challenge has been launched against Fiona Woolf’s appointment as chair of an inquiry into historic child sex abuse.

The judicial review has been launched by a victim of exactly the kind of abuse Mrs Woolf will be investigating. She is the second chair appointed to this inquiry after Baroness Butler-Sloss was forced to step down due to fears over a conflict of interest affecting her suitability – and the second to face allegations that she should resign due to her connections, in this case with Leon Brittan, the former Home Secretary who apparently did nothing after a dossier containing allegations against more than 100 people was handed to him.

Will a Conservative-led government ever find someone to chair this inquiry who is free of any alleged connections to its subject matter?

Perhaps Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has found a way around this problem for them, since Mrs Woolf is being challenged by judicial review – and he has launched a bid to end the process.

According to, his attack is particularly insidious. Rather than try to stop it altogether and face an outcry, Grayling set in motion a plan to price it out of the reach of “anyone but the most reckless and wealthy”...