Public Inquiries

Drawing on wide experience and expertise at all levels, QEB Hollis Whiteman is sought-after to provide advice and representation at all stages of the Public Inquiry process and in respect of inquiries of all kinds.


QEB Hollis Whiteman’s strength in advocacy and equal focus on regulatory and criminal law give our members a keen appreciation of the risks and opportunities that involvement in a Public Inquiry can present for both organisations and individuals. Inquiries invariably involve complex, sensitive and controversial subject matters which Counsel at QEB Hollis Whiteman are well placed to negotiate, offering advice and representation to anyone contemplating involvement as a core participant or as a witness giving oral evidence.

Our Experience

QEB Hollis Whiteman has a wealth of experience in Public Inquiries, including advising and appearing for witnesses and core participants and acting as Counsel to the inquiry itself. We have conducted inquiries ourselves and have provided expert witnesses on points of importance.

We offer advice and representation in respect of all aspects of the inquiry process, from early but important considerations such as disclosure, through to advocacy at the inquiry and to matters arising from the inquiry’s report.

Our notable strength in this field has placed us at the very top of the list for complex, high profile and sensitive inquiries.

Notable Cases

Stephen Lawrence Independent Review (2014)
Mark Ellison QC conducted an independent inquiry into potential police corruption and the role of undercover policing in the investigations into the Murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993. The Review was held up as an example of how to run an inquiry of this sort. Mark subsequently conducted the review of possible miscarriages of justice (2015), considering the impact of undisclosed undercover police activity on the safety of convictions. Members are now involved in the undercover policing inquiry, announced following these reviews.

Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry (2013)
Public Inquiry into the failings in patient care and why they were not identified and acted on sooner. Three members acted as leading and Junior Counsel to the inquiry which began hearing oral evidence in November 2010. Seven Junior members assisted on the production of the resulting Francis Report. The inquiry was praised for its efficiency and the breadth and depth of evidence examined. The report continues to have wide-reaching repercussions in healthcare reform.

Leveson Inquiry (2011)
Public Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press following the news international phone-hacking scandal. Members provided advice to various parties.

Rosemary Nelson Inquiry (2011)  
Public Inquiry following the murder of a Catholic solicitor in 1999 in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, by Loyalist Terrorists. The inquiry was launched following allegations of State collusion in her death. Nicholas Griffin QC acted on behalf of a serving Chief Constable and the large team of officers conducting the investigation into Mrs Nelson’s murder.

Bloody Sunday Inquiry (reported 2010)
This was the independent Public Inquiry into the events of 30 January 1972 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Members provided advice to and appeared for the team acting for military witnesses.


Recent Cases

Grenfell Inquiry [2020]

Zoe Johnson QC has been instructed to represent a former employee of a company for the...

Anthony Grainger Public Inquiry (2019)

Anne Whyte QC acted for the Greater Manchester Police in a public inquiry into the shooting by a...


Tom Kark QC Appointed to Chair the Muckamore Public Inquiry

Chambers is pleased to announce the appointment of Tom Kark QC by the Minister for Health (Northern Ireland) to chair the public inquiry into abuse and failings at Muckamore Abbey Hospital, County Antrim. The allegations surrounding Muckamore Abbey...

A Public Inquiry into Covid-19. A Series of Discussions Hosted by QEBHW Part 1: The NHS - Might the Hand-clapping Turn to Finger-pointing?

This is the first of a series of podcasts by QEB Hollis Whiteman looking at the topic of a public inquiry into Covid -19 from a variety of perspectives. We start with the medical profession. In this podcast we will discuss the pandemic-related...

Anne Whyte QC, Rebecca Harris & Orla Daly discuss the scandal of widespread sexual abuse in schools in The Times yesterday

Members of QEB Hollis Whiteman Chambers write for The Times to consider the fallout from Everyone's Invited  and to recommend that schools implement a code of conduct to tackle the issues and provide safe and...

Sir David Calvert Smith writes report on the influence that the United Arab Emirates has over International Policing Body, Interpol and ways forward for reform.

Sir David has written the report UNDUE INFLUENCE: THE UAE AND INTERPOL.  It was released today. Former Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir David Calvert-Smith was commissioned to write a report on the influence that the United Arab...

Alexandra Felix to be appointed Queen's Counsel

We are delighted to announce that the Queen has approved the Lord Chancellor’s recommendation that Alexandra Felix should be appointed one of Her Majesty’s Counsel. Newly appointed Queen’s Counsel will make their declaration in 2021. ...

Eleanor Laws QC Awarded Crime Silk of the year by Chambers & Partners

Congratulations to Eleanor Laws QC who won Crime Silk of the Year at the annual Chambers and Partners awards which took place on the 19th November. Eleanor has a diverse practice which includes heavyweight and high profile crime.  She regularly...


A Podcast: A Public Inquiry into Covid-19 - a Series of Discussions Hosted by QEBHW Part 1: The NHS - Might the Hand-clapping Turn to Finger-pointing?

The government has now committed to a full statutory public inquiry into the Covid-19 pandemic.  This is the first of a series of podcasts by QEB Hollis Whiteman looking at the topic of a public inquiry into Covid -19 from a variety of perspectives. We...

AN UPDATE: Walking the tightrope of COVID-19 - how can doctors and other healthcare professionals protect themselves from criticism?

Considering how front-line healthcare workers might protect themselves. With the 2020 "clap for the NHS" and recent outrage at the 1% pay rise for NHS staff, it is clear that the national sense of thanks for the NHS prevails and is as strong...

The Covid-19 Public Inquiry - Where are we now?

The PM's recent announcement that there will be an independent inquiry into the C-19 response has been welcomed but has also prompted difficult questions: what might the inquiry look like and involve? And what of those who want or are required to give...

Walking the tightrope of COVID-19 - how can doctors and other healthcare professionals protect themselves from future criticism?

Considering how front-line healthcare workers might protect themselves. Recently, the “clap for the NHS” came to an end, after ten weeks. Reasons for its demise include some NHS staff feeling it had been hijacked by politicians, and some...

Inquests: The impact of COVID-19, work related deaths and Article 2 ECHR

Deaths from COVID-19 are likely to give rise to the requirement to hold inquests in a wide variety of cases. This will likely pose a substantial challenge to coroners in both the timing and scope of these inquests, particularly where deaths are also linked...

Covid-19: A Public Inquiry

Calls for a public inquiry into the government and state reaction to Covid-19 are mounting. But is there actually a need for an inquiry and, if so, what form should it take and what should it investigate?  QEB Hollis Whiteman's  Nicholas...