Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse suspends its senior counsel: updated

Events leading to the resignation of Ben Emmerson QC  as senior counsel to the IICSA

On 28 September The GuardianThe Times and The Telegraph all carried identical reports of a press statement by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse that its senior counsel, Ben Emmerson QC of Matrix Chambers. The statement as reported in the press said that:

“The inquiry has recently become very concerned about aspects of Mr Emmerson’s leadership of the counsel team. He has therefore been suspended from duty so that these can be properly investigated. Suggestions in the press that Mr Emmerson was considering resigning after raising disagreements over the future direction of the inquiry are untrue. They are not a matter on which he has advised the Chair or Panel.”

On 29 September, IICSA published the statement in identical terms on its website.

According to The Guardian’s report of 28 September, lawyers acting for Mr Emmerson said that he had

“… read this evening on the internet that he has been suspended from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. If, and when, allegations are put to him, he will respond appropriately.”

In a letter to the Chair on 29 September, Mr Emmerson notified her of his resignation, expressing his personal doubts about whether he “was genuinely the right person to steer that review process”. The Chair announced that she had accepted Ben Emmerson QC’s resignation from the role of Counsel to the Inquiry, stating

“[t]here is no truth in suggestions that he has resigned due to a difference of opinion with me about the next steps for the Inquiry. He will continue to be available to the Inquiry whilst his replacement is recruited and brought up to speed. I am pleased he continues to support the Inquiry’s aims and objectives. He has made an enormous contribution to the Inquiry and we wish him well”.


In its report of the developments the BBC helpfully listed the following links to the thirteen different strands of the Inquiry:

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