Hillsborough lawyer will consider child abuse inquiry role mon 11th july 2016
A leading lawyer who represented families during the Hillsborough inquests has said he will “seriously consider” an invitation to become the new chair of Scotland’s child abuse inquiry.
Survivors have named Michael Mansfield QC as one of the figures they would like to see take over from Susan O’Brien, who resigned last week.
Mr Mansfield said he was interested in the post, but had not received an approach from the Scottish Government.
Ms O’Brien dramatically quit last week after Deputy First Minister John Swinney began formal measures to have her removed from her position.
Mr Swinney said he acted following a complaint from Dr Claire Fyvieabout comments the chair made in February which were said to be “incompatible” with her role.
But in her resignation letter, Ms O’Briensaid she had done “nothing wrong”.
Survivors have named Mr Mansfield as well as judges Lord McEwan and Lord Malcolm as possible replacements for Ms O’Brien.
In an e-mail to The Scotsman, the English QC said:
“I have already indicated that I am prepared to seriously consider the chair position as I was prepared to consider the same role in London.”
Mr Mansfield’s recent work includes representing most of the victims’ families at the Hillsborough inquests.
Campaigners had previously urged Home Secretary Theresa May to pick him to chair the English child abuse inquiry.
New Zealand High Court judge Lowell Goddard was given the role last year following the resignation of the previous two chairwomen amid concerns over links to the establishment.
Speaking after a meeting with Mr Swinney last week, Alan Draper, of In-Care Abuse Survivors (Incas), said an approach had been made to Mr Mansfield’s chambers in London.
Mr Draper said:
“He’s a very independent sort of individual and if he’s prepared to take it on, I would hope John Swinney would approach him.”
David Whelan, who represents former Quarriers residents, said:
“The deputy first minister may have to look outside of Scotland because this person has to be independent, possibly of the system and the establishment.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said:
“We will confirm the name of the new chair in due course. Until that appointment is made, we are unable to discuss individual names.”