The Home Affairs Select Committee endorses Justice Lowell Goddard, the Home Secretary’s Nominee to Chair the Historic Child Abuse Inquiry.
The Home Affairs Select Committee took evidence from Justice Lowell Goddard at a pre-appointment hearing on Wednesday 11 February 2015.
The Committee made a number of recommendations, including:
- The establishment of a parallel Survivors’ Forum, on a formal basis, with strong links to the Panel. This forum should be properly funded, to provide any necessary support to its members.
- The new Panel should give consideration to hiring specialist staff to provide support to abuse survivors giving evidence.
- That the Permanent Secretary at the Home Office should conduct a new search of all government material, to establish that no relevant documents have been overlooked.
- The Panel should produce interim reports as frequently as it sees fit, but that the first interim report should be produced as soon as possible.
- Justice Goddard should play a full role in the selection of Panel members, as well as having a free hand over the appointment over the Inquiry Counsel and Secretariat.
- Justice Goddard should fully consult the Chairs of the Northern Ireland Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse and the Scottish national public inquiry into historical abuse of children in institutional care, with particular regard to seeking to avoid gaps between the areas covered by the various inquiries.
- The scope of the inquiry should be extended to include cases of abuse in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where there is reason to believe that material relevant to the case might be held by the UK Government. This would include cases such as the Kincora Boys’ Home.
Rt. Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chairman of the Committee, said:
"We were impressed by the outstanding credentials of Justice Goddard, and the open and transparent way in which she gave evidence to the Committee. We believe she has the necessary skills and dedication to carry out this complex task effectively. She will be standing down from the High Court of New Zealand to take on this position full time and she will come to live in the UK. Both of these decisions show that she is strongly committed to giving this inquiry the full attention that it deserves.
Justice Goddard anticipates taking up her appointment full time in early April. By then the membership of the Panel, her salary and the terms and conditions of her employment should be concluded. We also look forward to receiving her letter detailing her interests as soon as possible. We reserve the right to recall Justice Goddard should this letter disclose any information which may cause concern.
We are confident that Justice Goddard will establish full independence from the Home Office and that she will shape and lead the inquiry in the manner she decides, but with proper consideration for the survivors. This is an important moment for the Inquiry, first established 221 days ago, and is an opportunity to renew the process after two false starts. We wish her well."
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