Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry

Lord Brailsford to be appointed as new Chair. 

The Hon. Lord Brailsford, a Senator of the College of Justice of Scotland, will be the new Chair of the Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry, Deputy First Minister John Swinney has confirmed in a statement to Parliament.

Lord Brailsford will replace the Hon. Lady Poole on Friday 28 October. It will now be a matter for Lord Brailsford to determine how handover arrangements will work in practice, to best support continuity within the work of the Inquiry.

The Deputy First Minister also confirmed an amendment will be made to the Inquiry’s terms of reference to include a clear reference to a human rights-based approach. This addition further emphasises the expectation the Inquiry will take a human rights-based approach, and that it will demonstrate how that approach has informed and improved the recommendations it makes.  

Mr Swinney said:  

“The Scottish Government wants the Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry to be delivered at speed and to address the range of questions that people have – the bereaved, in particular – so that we can learn lessons and benefit from them as early as possible. That is why arrangements for identifying a new judicial Chair for the Inquiry have been taken forward urgently to ensure a swift and successful transition. 

“From my own and the First Minister’s interactions with Lord Brailsford, I am in no doubt that he has the necessary leadership skills, integrity and experience to continue the work of this Inquiry. 

“I am grateful to Lady Poole for the important work she has undertaken since the establishment of this Inquiry. I thank Lady Poole for her work and wish her well.” 

Lord Brailsford said: 

 “I am honoured to have been appointed as the independent Chair of the Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry. The pandemic impacted everyone across the country to some degree. There is barely a family, business or organisation that wasn’t affected in some way. This Inquiry seeks to find out whether anything could or even should have be done differently and what lessons can be learned for the future.

“The public are rightly looking for answers and no more so than the loved ones of the nearly 16,000 people in Scotland who died during this pandemic. I am immensely aware of the enormous responsibility this places on me and the Inquiry. I promise the families, that along with the Inquiry team, I will work independently to establish the facts and ensure the Inquiry thoroughly examines the decisions taken throughout the pandemic.”


Deputy First Minister's statement: Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry Chair 

Lord Brailsford biography  

The Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry is an independent statutory inquiry, established under the Inquiries Act 2005. 

The terms of reference for the Inquiry were shaped by public engagement and cover 12 areas of investigation. Each area encompasses a strategic element of the handling of the pandemic, to identify lessons to be learned and make recommendations as soon as practicable. 

Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry Terms of Reference 


Media enquiries

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