The Scottish COVID-19 inquiry was formally established on 28 February 2022. The Scottish Ministers have fixed this as the Inquiry's "setting-up date" after which the Inquiry is permitted to consider evidence.

The Inquiry is aiming for a public launch in early summer 2022.

Meanwhile, the Inquiry remains in its "establishment stage" during which the Chair, Lady Poole, will appoint the Inquiry's team and put in place systems to support the Inquiry's work. The Inquiry has commissioned introductory research from several universities to inform its decisions about the "shape and direction of its investigation" and the Inquiry has said that it will publish this research when its website is up and running.

During the establishment phase, the Chair will also reflect on the Inquiry's terms of reference which have been set by the Scottish Government. You can read about the Inquiry's terms of reference here.

Recently, a number of organisations which campaign for women's rights have questioned the Scottish Government's decision not to include the impact of the pandemic on women as a separate term of reference.

In response, the Scottish Government has said that the Scottish Ministers recognise the disproportionate impacts the pandemic has had on different groups but that individual groups have not been singled out within the terms of reference to ensure that all groups can be considered in scope. The Government also made reference to the fact the terms of reference provide that the Inquiry will " consider the impacts of the strategic elements of handling of the pandemic on the exercise of Convention rights" which include a right not to be discriminated against.

For more information on participating in a public inquiry, please contact Christine O'Neill KC, Kirstyn Burke or your usual Brodies contact.

Contributors

Kirstyn Burke

Senior Associate

Christine O'Neill KC

Chair & Partner