The UK Covid-19 Inquiry, which has been established to examine and learn lessons regarding the UK’s preparedness and response to the Covid-19 pandemic, launched its website on Monday 28 February.
According to the website, two experienced individuals have been appointed as Solicitor to the Inquiry and Counsel to the Inquiry, both of whom have been involved in other high-profile public inquiries in the past. They will support the Chair, Baroness Hallett, in conducting the Inquiry. For example, Counsel to the Inquiry will have the right to ask questions of witnesses who are called to give oral evidence.
The website notes that Baroness Hallett “will set out her vision for the Inquiry’s work in the coming months, which will include consulting the public on the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry once she has received a draft from the Prime Minister”. The detailed timeline for this consultation exercise has not yet been announced. However, according to transparency disclosures by the UK Cabinet Office, the Inquiry has been working with a strategic consultancy firm to support the Inquiry’s launch and consultation on its Terms of Reference, with the aim of completing work by late February 2022. We therefore expect to see some progress with the Terms of Reference in the near future.
Covington’s UK Parliamentary and Public Inquiries team is closely monitoring developments relating to the Covid-19 Inquiry, and intends to provide further updates when the consultation for Terms of Reference begins.