The Buzz

News items from around the world


Conference: Insider Information On The Child Abuse Inquiry (Allegedly)

A free conference looking at issues related to the Child Abuse Inquiry has been scheduled in November by barristers’ chambers and aims to offer an inside look at the investigation.

The opening description reads like this:

“The reasons behind the recent resignations at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (the Inquiry), the ongoing media debate about anonymity for the accused and/or deceased, the personal, financial and organisational costs of dealing with the impact of sexual abuse, the scope of and scepticism about the Inquiry investigations and how to provide support to those who have been abused are just some of the issues, challenges and topics of current relevance to non-recent sexual abuse allegations and how we ensure the protection of children today.”

It strikes us as odd that the first item listed relates to offering up reasons as to why an unusual number of lawyers have fled the Inquiry. Whether that’s because the entire exercise is just designed to repair any damage to the legal profession’s reputation- the media have bee invited to attend this event – or is simply a way to entice lawyers and journalists to come along, it’s unlikely that the truth will be offered up.

The conference is divided into five segments:

•   Unfounded allegations/anonymity: ‘trial by media’ (panel debate)
•   The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)
•   Consent (debate)
•   Abuse claims update
•   Supporting victims and survivors

The panel members are:

•   Harvey Proctor, former Member of Parliament for Basildon and Billericay
•   Peter Skelton QC, Crown Office Row – counsel to the Accountability & Reparations
•   Anne Tiivas, Director, Child Protection in Sport Unit, NSPCC
•   Samantha Cohen, 9 Bedford Row chambers
•   David Greenwood, Director & Solicitor, Head of Child Abuse Department, Switalskis Solicitors
•   Richard Scorer, Principal Lawyer, Head of Practice Improvement, Slater and Gordon Lawyers
•   Jonathan Wheeler, Partner, Bolt Burdon Kemp
•   Neil Block QC, William Norris QC and Bernard Doherty, 39 Essex Chambers
•   Fintan Canavan, Frank Hughes, Paula Jefferson and Michael Pether, BLM

This event will be recorded. If you’d like to attend, you can register here, or call Ellie Hamilton on 0161 819 3250. 

The event takes place on Monday 24th November, 2016 from 9am-5pm, and will be held at 39 Essex Chambers, 81 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1DD.

Thank you to Theresa Cooper for sharing this item with us.


Question It!

Welcome to another week.

A paedophile convicted of possessing a huge volume of some of the most extreme images of child sex abuse available and who hopes to start a family of his own in the near future, has been spared jail because of mitigating circumstances.

Those mitigating circumstances include being charged for the first time, pleading guilty at the first opportunity, having a supportive wife and being in steady employment.

The judge also took the view that Richard Arrowsmith was previously of ‘good character’. Arrowsmith had been viewing and storing child abuse images for over four years before he was caught.

There does not appear to be any concern over his desire to have children of his own although he has been ordered to sign the sexual offences register and is now banned from working with children. Arrowsmith has also been given a supervision requirement for 12 months, and cannot leave his house between 7pm and 5am.

Our question this week then is this: do you think the judge was right to allow the mitigating circumstances above to influence his decision?



Make Some Noise… TODAY!!

If you’re listening to the radio this morning, chances are you’ll hear your favourite presenters telling you to Make Some Noise, but what do they mean and why should we?


Media entertainment group Global’s charity arm runs the Make Some Noise campaign, which aims to raise money for small but perfectly formed projects supporting disadvantaged and vulnerable children throughout the UK. Every year, radio stations like Classic FM and Capital  help raise money to make sure children get the help they need by fundraising with games, quizzes, live performances and more.


If you’d like to get involved, the charity has a page which tells you how, and if you’re a small UK registered charity, you could become part of Make Some Noise just by taking a look here.  

Global are also daring you to dress LOUD today, which is exactly what Researching Reform is going to do. If you want to see our SUBWOOFER STYLE, tune in to Twitter  – we’ll show you ours, if you show us yours. For those of you too chicken to change, you can tweet some rowdy emojis instead, along with the hashtags #DressLoud or #LoudIcons

And if you’re feeling flush and looking to splash your cash on a good cause, you can do that right here.  

Researching Reform wishes Make Some Noise a very successful day….

Oh, and check out these guys dancing in the lift like no one’s watching.

“I Measured Love By How Much Pain Someone Could Take From Me.”

A series of YouTube videos about the human condition is gaining attention for its deeply insightful and thought provoking messages.

Based on a film by Yann Arthus-Betrand called HUMAN,  its YouTube channel divides the movie’s aerial footage and first person stories filmed in 60 countries, into three volumes.

You can watch Clip #13 below. Entitled Love From The Most Unlikely Place this short is incredibly moving. So much so that we won’t tell you anything about it, except that it features a man serving a life sentence for killing a woman and a child, and how he came to understand that his perception of love, and how he treated others, was deeply rooted in a traumatic childhood.


Topics covered by this series include the struggles of poverty; war; homophobia, and the future of our planet, as well as lighter moments of love and happiness.

You can share this series on Twitter using the hashtag #WhatMakesUsHUMAN

A very big thank you to Professor Joan Durrant for sharing this film with us.




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Reputation Management At The Child Abuse Inquiry

When news first hit that the lead counsel to the nation’s child abuse inquiry had been suspended over concerns relating to his management of the team, it took less than 24 hours for Emmerson to instruct lawyers.

And no wonder. Plagued by rumours of bullying, and tense working relationships with other lawyers in the team which led to at least one senior lawyer resigning from the Inquiry, and others resigning ‘for unknown reasons’, Emmerson’s reputation has now been called into question. But it is his suspension from the Inquiry which will do him the most damage, even though the Inquiry has this morning confirmed that it will no longer be investigating Emmerson.

Other lawyers working on the Janner branch of the Inquiry also quietly resigned after it emerged that investigations into the late peer might be dropped. It has since been confirmed that the Inquiry intends to keep on with this investigation, but the resignations look more and more like lawyers jumping ship to avoid any lasting impact on their professional reputations. Staying means working on a brief blighted by huge delays that is highly unlikely to ever yield results – and leaving before potentially being ‘let go’ might also seem like a savvy career move.

But it looks as though child abuse inquiry Chair, Professor Jay isn’t bothered by what appears to be selective protectionism at the Inquiry. She may well have had a hand in dropping the investigation into Emmerson, a move that will no doubt disappoint the solicitors instructed by the former head of legal at the Inquiry, but one which should please survivors. Without the unnecessary wrangle of a law suit compromising the speed and direction of the Inquiry further, the team can now press on.


Question it!

Welcome to another week.

As news of more lawyers leaving the nation’s child abuse inquiry comes to light, some media outlets are suggesting that the inquiry should be axed. Survivors and victims, unfazed by the developments, see this latest stage of the inquiry’s evolution as a chance to restructure the investigation to make it even more efficient.

Our question this week, then, is just this: what do you think should be done with the child abuse inquiry?



Lead Lawyer Suspended From Child Abuse Inquiry

Whilst Chairs may have come and gone at the now infamous independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, ongoing tensions, arguments and fiascos were always underscored by just one panel member. And now, it seems, the reign of tyranny is over.

Accusations of bullying and riding roughshod over Chairs, as well as routine intimidation is the legacy lead counsel Ben Emmerson leaves behind, after being suspended from the Inquiry yesterday. The suspension takes place amid growing concerns about certain aspects of his leadership within the team he was tasked to manage.

This won’t be the last of it. Emmerson is likely to counter with a robust defence, as lawyers tend to do, and Professor Jay will need to steal herself for what will be an aggressive effort. Still, with Emmerson no longer at the Inquiry, it will be interesting to see if the investigation settles down and starts to function as it should.