This just in.

Lord Janner’s family will be meeting with lawyers at the child abuse inquiry later on today, after previously deciding not to take part in the inquiry process. The family will argue that as Lord Janner is no longer alive, it would be unfair to include him in the Inquiry as he is not able to defend himself.

They will now be asking for Core Participant Status (CPS) in order to address the panel and counter any allegations made.

The Inquiry has very specific guidelines as to who can apply for CPS, with sole discretion to accept individuals resting with the Chair.

The rules tell us that:

“When determining any applications the Chair must, in particular, consider whether:

a. the person played, or may have played, a direct and significant role in relation to the matters to which the inquiry relates;

b. the person has a significant interest in an important aspect of the matters to which the inquiry relates; or

c. the person may be subject to explicit or significant criticism during the inquiry proceedings or in the report, or in any interim report.”

As Lord Janner is no longer alive, his family hope to represent him as Core Participants, however that alone will not be enough to guarantee a successful application as there is an obvious conflict of interest that could cause difficulties. Lord Janner’s relatives have always claimed his innocence, so it is not clear what kind of evidence they could offer the Inquiry, at least not under item a. above.

Even under item b. a ‘significant interest’ may not include an interest to prove a person’s innocence.

Item c. could offer the Janner family a stronger claim for Core Participant Status. It is likely that Lord Janner will be implicated in a series of child sexual abuse incidents, however item c. refers to the person in question, and not family members.

The final decision though, will rest with Professor Jay. As the rules go on to say:

“While the Chair is bound to consider the factors set out in Rule 5(2), it is open to her to take into account other relevant matters. The Chair is also not obliged to designate a person or organisation that meets the criteria set out in Rule 5 of the Inquiry Rules as a core participant. She has a wide discretion that she will exercise fairly, consistently and with an open mind.”

We will keep you posted.

Greville Janner, Comment