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home Secretary appoints new chair of child abuse inquiry

5 February 2015

Theresa May yesterday appointed Justice Lowell Goddard QC to chair the inquiry into how public bodies and other non-state institutions exercised their duty of care when protecting children from sexual abuse in previous years.

The appointment of Goddard, one of the first females to be appointed a High Court Judge in New Zealand, follows the resignation of Baroness Butler-Sloss and Dame Fiona Woolf due to potential conflicts of interest. Justice Goddard brings experience in this area having previously led an inquiry into how New Zealand police handled child abuse cases. Her appointment has been publicly welcomed by Ben Emmerson QC who is currently acting as the legal advisor for the panel.

Justice Goddard’s appointment comes with news that the inquiry is to be granted statutory powers under the Inquiries Act 2005. The Act allows Justice Goddard to summon witnesses to give evidence and provide disclosure to assist with investigations. It is unlikely that the public are to see any interim findings before the general election later this year.

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