Michael Mansfield QC Launches Judicial Review Of CSA Inquiry.

Here is the full press release. I’ll comment below.


The Chambers of Michael Mansfield QC supports the Survivors’ two grounds of judicial review. Firstly, that the Survivors of Sexual Abuse are excluded from membership of the Inquiry panel because of a claim that they will lack the necessary objectivity. It should be noted that this bar to membership of the panel in fact only targets Survivors who have disclosed their abuse; this of course serves only to punish and stigmatise Survivors.

Secondly, that the Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel (VSCP) involvement is so limited as to be meaningless. The VSCP was said to have been created to allow Survivors to participate at the centre of this Inquiry. Instead the VSCP will meet with the Inquiry team on two days per month and not have access to the Inquiry papers. Each of these decisions sidelines the participation of the Survivors. As Michael Mansfield QC has said:

” The process has been marred by a Government which has tried relentlessly to manipulate the appointments, remit and terms and conditions of any Inquiry. The only way forward is to ensure a collective approach by survivors standing firm and together on clear objectives.”

Notes to editors:
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was announced by the Home Secretary on the 12th of March 2015
The Hon Justice Goddard DNZM has been appointed to Chair the Inquiry; in her letter posted on the 12th of March she stated that “the appointment of victims or survivors to the panel will not, in my view, be consistent with the objectivity, independence and impartiality that is required of members of an independent panel”
On the 9th of April the Inquiry team announced that the VSCP would be limited to two days per month and stated, to Survivors, that members of the VSCP would not be provided with Inquiry papers.

Mansfield Chambers

Firstly, do I think he can win ?

In my view yes, on grounds of discrimination however this second part “The VSCP was said to have been created to allow Survivors to participate at the centre of this Inquiry.” is incorrect the correct phrase used as I understand it was that “the experience of Survivors” should be at the centre of the Inquiry. It is a small difference but it invalidates the second argument.

To be frank, the VSCP was always going to be limited and meaningless as far as the oversight and direction of the Inquiry was concerned but important as far as ensuring survivors who participate get proper support and an essential way of getting the large survivor charities ‘on board’, and through them survivors.

The entire point was to restrict the access to the confidential and highly classified documentation and keep it in safe hands.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the skill set that is obviously lacking from the current CSA Inquiry panel is held by professional, experienced, and independent investigators (retired police officers or journalists) regardless of whether the investigator is a survivor or not.


Filed under Abuse, News

21 responses to “Michael Mansfield QC Launches Judicial Review Of CSA Inquiry.

  1. Jonathan West

    The JR has little or no chance of winning. The wording of the 2005 Inquiries Act is perfectly clear: “The Minister must not appoint a person as a member of the inquiry panel if it appears to the Minister that the person has … a direct interest in the matters to which the inquiry relates”

    It is trivially true that any abuse survivor, particularly where the abuse was prolonged or not prevented because of a failure of one of the institutions being investigated, is very likely to have or at the very least to be perceived to have “a direct interest in the matters to which the inquiry relates”. The very fact that the JR is being launched on behalf of a survivor is a tacit admission of this. This isn’t necessary an automatic bar to any survivor being appointed, but it is a perfectly valid consideration when deciding whether any specific survivor candidate is sufficiently impartial to be appointed.

    Section 9 of the Act is titled “Requirement of impartiality”. Note well “impartiality” not “objectivity”. The two things are not quite the same. The earlier chairs, Baroness Butler Sloss and Fiona Woolf both resigned because it was perceived that they lacked the necessary impartiality because of their interest in the matters to which the inquiry relates or alternatively that they had “a close association with an interested party”. This is the other reason for not appointing a panel member under Section 9(1) of the Act, even though as a non-statutory inquiry at the time, the Act did not strictly apply.

    It seems to me that those who support the JR are falling into the trap of confusing “impartiality” with “being likely to agree with my point of view”. In effect they are asking for at least one panel member to be “impartial in their favour”. It’s just not going to happen.

    It’s also not commonly realised that to successfully overturn an administrative decision on JR, a high evidential hurdle needs to be overcome. To put it in layman’s terms (as explained to me by a solicitor), one has to demonstrate not only that the proposed alternative approach is a sensible one, but also that nobody with two brain cells to rub together could reasonably have arrived at the original decision. Given the amount of work that went into the vetting of the current panel and the fact that the criteria have been published following widespread consultation (a lesson learned following the fiascos of the earlier chairs) no judge is going to conclude that the current appointments and the process by which they were carried out are so unreasonable as to overturn them on judicial review.

  2. Gary

    I can only hope that, legal matters aside, those in parliament who broke ranks to push for this enquiry will continue to support it in the next parliament.

    With the likely outcome of the election being a hung parliament its possible that the spotlight will be taken away from this long enough for it to be neutralised.

    Blogs, like this, are really the only way to keep this from being ‘forgotten’


  4. dpack

    ps with respect to the files in the registry those on the living might be the most valuable ones for immediate use but the whole collection would be very useful in the pursuit of truth and justice and for the recording of a true history of the world we live in .

  5. dpack


    “Stasi officers tried to destroy their files when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, but they were saved by ordinary East German citizens who stormed the Stasi offices in the city of Erfurt to protect the documents ”

    hoping the guilty will confess and collectively punish themselves seems rather naive .

  6. joekano76

    Reblogged this on Floating-voter.

  7. artmanjosephgrech

    There is need for an inquiry into the inquiry except the outcome would be an inquiry into the inquiry about the inquiry. My problem has been to question the merits of any inquiry unless there is a commitment from the establishment institutions to change and where I see little enthusiasm and much opposition.

    • Simon Templar

      The problem is one of perception.

      The public’s perception of Justice is the same, where the guilty are brought to answer for their crimes and where the vulnerable victim is protected.

      The Establishment (lawyers) perception of Justice is to be allowed to move the goal posts and cut large holes in the net to allow the protected to pass through without so much as a light touch.

      Thereby, the problem with Justice in practice is the Justice System being a protection racket that further humiliates the victims of crime.

      The guilty can deceive a Judge, a jury and even the police.

      However, the guilty cannot absolutely deceive a Polygraph Test by a qualified professional, which is 92% accurate.

      There is your definitive answer?

      • Jonathan West

        However, the guilty cannot absolutely deceive a Polygraph Test by a qualified professional, which is 92% accurate.

        By your own statement, they can deceive a polygraph 8% of the time. The thing is you don’t know which 8%.

      • Simon Templar

        I think most people with any knowledge of the Justice System would agree that a 92% chance of catching a guilty person is statistically massively higher than the Justice System’s anecdotal average which is around 55%.

        No brainer. That is, if the intention is to catch the guilty and have them answer to their actions?

      • Terry B

        The conviction rate of UK courts is somewhere around 80-81%. The problem isn’t convicting, it’s getting them into court in the first place.

      • Simon Templar

        Again perception. Are you presupposing that all of the 80% are guilty?

        An eminent QC once said that he had no problem defending a client accused of a serious crime, when he knew that the client was guilty. Then the QC gave his reason for doing so, that there are miscarriages of justice being perpetrated on a regular basis in the courts.

        In Scotland, only 40% of cases reported to the Crown Office by the Procurator Fiscal, who has referred the case having made the decision that there is corroboratory evidence capable of proving the accused is guilty. That is, 60% of known felons, capable of being proven guilty of committing the crime are let off Scot-Free.

        Thereby, it is a myth that we are not catching the criminals. There is literally a revolving door policy in operation so as to keep providing the fodder to keep the system running and keep the corporations self fulfilling their existence.

        Imagine it like a big cash cow and they make sure that there are plenty of teats to keep the fee earners trying to suck the cow dry.


      • Terry B

        @ Simon Templar Each year there are in the region of 800 appeals so clearly the 80% conviction rate is far too high.

        There are a number of sites dedicated to miscarriages of justice and they are a real eye-opener, as one person puts it, innocence is no defence.

        But then that’s what happens to ordinary people.

  8. The child sex abuse inquiry continues to baffle logic. It is a house of mirrors where the reflection that needs investigation is that of those that can’t be seen, the ones holding the mirrors in the halls of power. Survivors who have had to bare the innermost reflections of their past are continually sidelined, have had to fight tooth and nail for a justice and transparency against those who have no idea what it is like to look in the mirror and see the pain of surviving child sex abuse. That pain is tempered and measured, that pain is what makes a survivor of child abuse even more even handed to ensure justice is done and seen to be done. Those involved in the inquiry should look in the mirror and ask themselves is this true justice or more smoke and mirrors and who holds the mirror glass? I am a survivor of child abuse

  9. I would buy a used car from Vaz has a shifty self important look.

  10. I do wonder about Mansfield. My experience leads me to suspect that no one is allowed to be successful in any career unless they’re trusted not to rock the boat. Some are trusted to appear to rock the boat – but I somehow doubt that the Westminster abuse ring and their boat will be anything less than seaworthy on the waters of corruption.

    Look at Vaz – Mouthing deep concern for victims but not voting to suspend OSA D notices signed by credible witnesses – Vaz didn’t vote at all for John Mann’s Private Members’ bill. And I’m told that Vaz took over the Chairmanship of the Home Affairs Select Committee in rather unusual circumstances. Some have suggested a bit of a fix for that post.

    • BarrieJ

      I take your point entirely, although, I’d trust Mansfield over Vaz.
      Mansfield served well the miners who were falsely arrested and charged over the picketing of Orgreave. There has never been an inquiry into police collusion, despite the failed trial and the subsequent £400k damages that it cost South Yorkshire police. Yet another stain on the grubby dishcloth that we pretend is British justice.
      I understand the survivors and families of the victims of Hillsborough have been satisfied with the work done for them by Michael Mansfield. Had he been such an establishment ‘safe’ pair of hands, surely he’d had been a natural choice to lead the CSA inquiry. There were people calling for his appointment.
      We are hoping for a dawn, that I fear will be false; the establishment have absolutely no intention of giving up any bodies that they fear may undermine the status quo.
      We are governed by criminals.

      • Liz

        Well said. I would just add Mr. Mansfield was magnificent in the Bloody Sunday inquiry also.

  11. Reblogged this on David Hencke and commented:
    Interesting comment from theneedleblog on Michael Mansfield’s bid for a judicial review of the Goddard Inquiry.
    Sadly if this had remained an independent panel there would have been no bar to appointing survivors to serve on it. I warned this could happen but some survivors took no notice.
    Also it is not well known that it is coalition policy to try and appoint an investigative journalist to work alongside other experts on independent panels. I should know because as a result of this policy I am currently serving alongside health and police experts on the Gosport War Memorial Hospital independent inquiry which is trying to get to the bottom of a series of unexplained historical deaths of elderly people at that hospital stretching for nearly two decades.

  12. Pingback: Michael Mansfield QC Launches Judicial Review Of CSA Inquiry. | Alternative News Network

  13. artmanjosephgrech