The Covid-19 Public Inquiry FINALLY Gets a Chair: Boris Johnson nominates former Court of Appeal Judge Baroness Heather Hallett as the chair of the probe in 2022 into how the government handled the pandemic. Bereaved families claim it is ‘far too late.

  • Boris Johnson has announced that a retired Court of Appeal Judge will be leading the Covid inquiry
  • Public inquiry will begin in spring 2019 and Heather Hallett, Baroness Heather Hallett, will be chair
  • The appointment was welcomed by bereaved family members, who said that it was ‘far too late. 

Boris Johnson announced today that he had appointed an ex-Judge of the Court of Appeal to lead the public inquiry into coronavirus crises. 

Baroness Heather Hallett is a peer from crossbench life and will head the probe, which should officially start in spring next year. 

This inquiry will investigate the response of the government to the pandemic. It will be able to summon witnesses and compel them to testify under oath.  

Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group welcomed the appointment, but stated that it had been ‘far too late. 

Baroness Heather Hallett, a crossbench life peer, will lead the probe which is due to formally begin in the spring of next year

Heather Hallett is a peer from crossbench life and will head the probe, which will officially start in spring next year.

Mr Johnson said Baroness Hallett 'brings a wealth of experience to the role and I know shares my determination that the inquiry examines in a forensic and thoroughgoing way the government's response to the pandemic'

Johnson stated that Baroness Hallett brings a lot of experience and I believe she shares my determination for the inquiry to examine in a forensic, thoroughgoing manner the government’s response. 

Heather Hallett (Baroness Heather): Heather Hallett is a retired Court of Appeal judge, who’s no stranger to inquests or inquiries of high importance  

Heather Hallett Baroness is not afraid to take charge of highly publicized inquests or inquiries.  

The 71-year-old former Court of Appeal judge has been entrusted by Boris Johnson with chairing the long-awaited public probe into the coronavirus crisis. 

The inquiry’s handling will come under intense scrutiny. 

Baroness Hallett has extensive experience in operating within the public eye, having retired in 2019 from the Court of Appeal. 

She currently acts as coroner for the inquiry into Dawn Sturgess’s death, which occurred in July 2018, after she was exposed to Novichok. 

It is anticipated that a new chair will be chosen for the inquiry in early 2019.  

She previously acted as the coroner for the inquests into the deaths of the 52 victims of the July 7, 2005 London bombings.  

She also chaired the Iraq Fatalities Investigations as well as the 2014 Hallett Review of the administrative scheme to deal with ‘on the runs’ in Northern Ireland.

As part of Theresa May’s resignation honors, Baroness Hallett received a nomination for a Life Peerage in 2019.

Married mother of two joined the House of Lords to be a peer in crossbench life. 

In May, the Prime Minister declared that there would be an open public inquiry into Government’s response to coronavirus. 

He has faced repeated calls to expedite the inquiry, with campaigners arguing it would be better to learn lessons as quickly as possible given the Covid crisis remains ongoing. 

The Prime Minister, however, has decided to keep his 2022 spring start date.

The terms of reference will be formulated by Mr Johnson, Baroness Hallett and published as a draft in the new calendar year.       

Mr Johnson said: ‘I want to thank Baroness Hallett for agreeing to take on the position of chair of the Covid-19 Inquiry.

“She has a lot of experience and I believe she shares my determination to ensure that the inquiry investigates the government’s responses to the pandemic in a thoroughgoing and forensic manner.”

Baroness Hallett said: ‘I am honoured to be appointed to chair the Covid-19 Inquiry. We all have been affected by the pandemic, with some people suffering more than others. It has brought so much suffering to me.

“In the new Year I’ll be looking for opinions from people who’ve lost loved ones, and other affected groups regarding the Inquiry’s terms of reference.

“I assure the British public that I will do everything possible to make sure the Inquiry addresses as many of the questions that it has about the UK’s response. We can all take away lessons from this.

In 2019, Baroness Hallett resigned from the Court of Appeal and was promoted to the House of Lords when she was appointed a crossbench peer. 

Her previous inquests and investigations included the death of 52 London victims of July 7th, 2005 bombings.   

Matt Fowler is co-founder and former president of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice. He said that the inquiry was a historical and constructive process to draw lessons from the past and prevent tragedies in the future. 

He stated that today’s appointment was a “finally a positive move in making this happen”.

He added that while this is a very good news, it’s too late.

“We have called for an inquiry ever since the beginning of the second wave. We will never know the number of lives that could have been saved if the Government conducted a quick review in the summer 2020. The Omicron variant is upon us and the inquiry cannot be delayed.

“This is an historic chance to gain lessons for protecting lives throughout the country. We can’t afford to miss this opportunity and look forward to working together with Baroness Hallett for its success.