New insight into the extent of the Covid-19 Inquiry’s powers 

May, 2023 - Shoosmiths LLP

As highlighted in our previous article, the Infected Blood Inquiry’s first interim report established considerable liabilities in relatively short order, recommending that £100,000 be paid “without delay” to victims and partners bereaved by infections transmitted by blood transfusions and blood products.

Sir Brian Langstaff, former High Court judge and current Chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry, released his second interim report on 5 April 2023. The report focuses on the details of a compensation scheme. The recommendations could have implications for the Covid-19 Inquiry as it shows the extent of powers Inquiries have, the flexibility of such schemes they can recommend and possible timeframes.

In terms of scope, the report recommends that eligibility for interim payments be extended to children who have lost a parent due to treatment containing infected blood.

Under the recommendations of the report, legal support will be provided to those affected and their estates.

Should the second interim report set the tone for the Covid-19 Inquiry, the Inquiry’s powers could include the ability to establish:

  • a framework compensation scheme, including the approach and mechanism for giving compensation;
  • wide scope of eligibility for interim payments;
  • provision for psychological support for victims; and
  • a new appellate process and independent body to be appointed with greater scrutiny and accountability for the Government.

The report recommends that the compensation scheme be in place ahead of the Inquiry’s final report, which is due in the autumn. Whether this pace of implementation will be mirrored in the Covid-19 Inquiry remains to be seen but nevertheless indicates that significant interim remedies could follow in short order.


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