Scotland Update – the O’Brien Inquiry

The Scottish Government’s Child Abuse Inquiry has been rocked in its infancy by the resignation of  Psychology Professor Michael Lamb, one of its three core members. Claiming the Inquiry is “doomed” due to interference from the Scottish government and has suffered “repeated threats” to its independence, the professor’s resignation comes as the Inquiry embarks on its four-year review, having already heard from some seriously ill or very elderly survivors.

Professor Lamb commented:

“Continuing interference threatens to prevent the inquiry from investigating thoroughly and taking robust evidence of the highest quality…The Scottish government has delayed or prevented the appointment of crucial members of staff for prolonged periods of time while its officials have questioned the decisions made by the supposedly independent inquiry.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish government said: “We entirely reject Prof Lamb’s comments about the Scottish government…Our primary focus remains on supporting the successful operation of the independent statutory inquiry.’

The Scottish government has also written to survivors and their representatives about Professor Lamb’s departure and assured them that their primary objective is to ensure that this does not impact on the progress that the inquiry has been making. The Scottish government has previously been forced to defend the inquiry’s limited remit after campaigners claimed institutions such as the Catholic Church and Boy Scouts could be “let off the hook” by the restricted terms of reference, into examining the extent of historical abuse of children in care, and seeking to identify any systemic failures.


Written by Frank Hughes, partner

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