Counsel to child sexual abuse inquiry believed to be close to resigning

The Guardian

Ben Quinn
Tuesday 27 September 2016

Fresh doubts about the future of the beleaguered independent inquiry into child sexual abuse have arisen amid concerns that its most senior lawyer is about to quit.

Ben Emmeron QC, who is counsel to the inquiry, is believed to be preparing to resign against the backdrop of differences with the body’s chair, Alexis Jay, who took up her position following the resignation of Dame Lowell Goddard last month.

The question marks over Emmeron’s continued involvement could not have come at a worse time for the inquiry, which was plunged into uncertainty following the resignation of Goddard, a New Zealand judge, who was the third person to have been named as inquiry chair.

Jay, a child protection expert with more than 30 years’ experience, led the official inquiry into the Rotherham scandal, which found that at least 1,400 children were sexually exploited in the town between 1997 and 2013.

A spokesperson for the inquiry said on Tuesday that Emmerson, a founding member of Matrix Chambers and a specialist in international and domestic human rights, had not resigned. However, they declined to comment on whether there was a disagreement between the chair and the inquiry’s counsel.

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