Former child abuse inquiry chair Susan O’Brien loses damages claim against Scottish Government

Susan O’Brien’s claim ministerial interference breached her rights is thrown out of court

A judge has ruled a compensation claim by the former chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry should be dismissed

Susan O’Brien QC quit the troubled inquiry last year after it emerged she faced ministerial intervention to remove her.

She then raised an action for damages at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.


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O’Brien claimed ministerial intervention amounted to a breach of contract. In her resignation letter, O’Brien said government interference had left her with “no alternative” but to step down.

However, Lord Pentland called the £500,000 claim “misconceived” as he threw the case out of court yesterday.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The judge has confirmed that the decision by ministers to undertake an investigation was, in the circumstances, appropriate, proportionate and fair.

“The focus of the Scottish government remains on supporting the successful operation of the independent public inquiry.”

The Child Abuse Inquiry hearings are ongoing under new chair High Court Judge Lady Smith.