Some 25 years ago I had a gig in international promotion for the Law Society’s international committee chaired by Fiona Woolf. We became friends and used to have what I like to call a power breakfast at the Connaught. She struck me as forceful but with a certain engaging vivacity. I was not surprised she became Lord Mayor but as a powerhouse City lawyer. I did wonder about her credentials to chair the sex abuse inquiry. This said I’m no advocate, as Michael Mansfield said, of letting the victims have a say as surely this must prejudge the result
She is the second to fall on her sword but this has rather eclipsed the bigger issue as to what these enquiries achieve. The Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday in Londonderry cost over £200m and deprived the courts of an outstanding judge. I have a friend Arthur Davidson, the eminence grise of libel law, former Labour MP who has chaired an inquiry. It’s my practice to call him before an inquiry for his verdict . He is almost invariably right, particularly over the Leveson press standards one. It might be a cheaper and just as effective for the government to give him a call too.