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

Re: a Core Participant (Grenfell Tower Inquiry)

Selva Ramasamy QC is advising an employee of a Core Participant in the Grenfell Tower...

The Kark Review (2019)

Tom Kark QC was asked to conduct an independent review of how effectively the Fit and Proper...

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry (Ongoing)

Representing a corporate core participant at this inquiry, announced following the devastating...

Undercover Policing Inquiry (Ongoing)

Nicholas Griffin QC is representing the Home Office at this ongoing...


Inquiry reports on Westminster abuse

The public inquiry into child sexual abuse published its Report into allegations of abuse linked to Westminster this month. It considers the institutional responses to allegations of abuse and exploitation involving persons of public prominence, such as...

Sir David Calvert-Smith conducts IAAF investigation into Lord Coe

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the international governing body for athletics, launched an investigation in September 2018 into allegations that its president, Lord Coe, had misled MPs over when he first heard about allegations of corruption and doping by Russian athletes.


When we talk about fake news

Ruth Broadbent examines the Digital Culture Media & Sport Committee’s report into fake news.

Public Inquiries: getting at the truth

Nicholas Griffin QC and Peter Watkin Jones assess the Inquiries Act 2005 ten years on in the Law Society Gazette.

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