Lord Brailsford, a Court of Session judge, has been appointed as the Chair of the Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry. His appointment was announced on 27 October 2022 by Deputy First Minister John Swinney and follows Lady Poole's resignation as Chair of the Inquiry in October.

The Deputy First Minister said that Lord Brailsford "is keenly aware of the need to ensure that the Inquiry progresses and delivers at pace" and "will undertake the role of Chair in an inclusive way with sensitivity, empathy and compassion". He has requested that Lord Brailsford meet with bereaved families as the earliest opportunity to hear their views about the Inquiry and its approach.

The Deputy First Minister also announced an addition to the Inquiry's terms of reference. The change will require the Inquiry "To demonstrate how a human rights based approach by the Inquiry has contributed to the Inquiry's findings in fact and recommendations". This reflects a joint commitment between Scottish Ministers and Lord Brailsford that "the Inquiry takes a person-centred, human rights based approach, to ensure that every person and organisation taking part can meaningfully participate, be treated fairly, and be empowered to take part in the Inquiry".

This addition to the terms of reference and Lord Brailsford's appointment have been welcomed by the Scottish Human Rights Commission.

The Inquiry published an autumn newsletter shortly before Lord Brailsford's appointment which explains that decisions on core participant applications could not be made until a new Chair is appointed. Following Lord Brailsford's appointment, those who have submitted core participant applications may expect decisions to be made in the near future.

The Inquiry's newsletter also stated that "pilot activities" for its Listening Project will begin later this year. The Listening Project is being designed to give members of the public the opportunity to tell the Inquiry about their experiences during the pandemic.

The Inquiry has yet to confirm when its formal public hearings will begin but it has said that it will move to this stage "as speedily as possible".

The newsletter also provides details about how the Inquiry intends to work with the UK-wide COVID-19 Inquiry. It states that the Inquiries are working together on a document, known as a "Memorandum of Understanding" which will set out how they will collaborate with each other and which will be published in due course.

If you have any questions about the COVID-19 Inquiries, please contact Christine O'Neill KC, Kirstyn Burke or your usual Brodies contact.


Christine O'Neill KC

Chair & Partner

Kirstyn Burke

Senior Associate

Emily Tarbet

Trainee Solicitor