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Bereaved families get go-ahead to challenge Welsh pandemic decisions at inquiry

31 Oct 2022 4 minute read
Photo by CDC on Unsplash

The Covid-19 Public Inquiry Chair has cleared the way for bereaved Welsh families to challenge UK and Welsh Government pandemic decisions.

The UK Covid pandemic inquiry will begin to consider political decision-making in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the UK-wide handling considered today.

Module 1 on the pandemic inquiry is focusing on high level pandemic resilience, preparedness and planning across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Former Court of Appeal judge Baroness Heather Hallett opened the independent inquiry in London at the beginning of this month.

All the main opposition parties in Wales have called for a Wales-only-inquiry, as have campaign groups such as the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru (CBFJC), but the Welsh Government has argued that a UK-wide inquiry will be the best way forward.

CBFJC has taken a critical step forward, now gaining Core Participant (CP) status in Module 2, the part of the public inquiry that opens the door to Welsh families directly questioning UK Government Covid-19 political and scientific decisions. 

The Group has also been granted CP status in Module 2B that examines decisions made in Wales.

Anna-Louise Marsh-Rees, lead for CBFJC said: “We may have been denied a Wales inquiry but it’s heartening to see that the UK Inquiry Chair acknowledges that things were done differently in Wales. 

“We thank the Chair for giving those bereaved by Covid in Wales a voice not only on Welsh decisions but UK decisions too. As time passes it becomes more critical for future lessons learned that we get the answers to long overdue unanswered questions.”

Craig Court, solicitor at Harding Evans, representing the Group emphasised the major significance of now being granted CP status in Modules 2 & 2B. 

He said: “This is a big step forward for the families to be able to explore the evidence in the search for truth and justice for their loved ones who were subject to life and death decisions both in Wales and in the UK as a whole. 

“The decisions taken by the UK Government in early 2020 obviously had a huge impact on the people of Wales and it is only right that the people of Wales are included at this stage.”

CBFJC is the only group representing families bereaved by Covid in Wales, able not only to critically question Welsh Government decision making but also the impact of the actions of the UK Government on Welsh families.


CP status in Module 2, linked into sub-module 2B, means that families will be able to scrutinise in detail how well (or not) the Welsh Government acted, politically and scientifically, in the light of UK Government decisions.

All this builds on the earlier move by Inquiry Chair, Baroness Hallett, to grant the group CP status in Module 1, in which Welsh families can challenge how well prepared (or not) the Welsh and UK Government were before the pandemic.

In formal terms, the Inquiry is split into stages. 

Module 1 is about preparedness and Module 2, UK decisions, with sub-module 2B dealing with Welsh Government decisions.

Key concerns

CBFJC will be keen to probe key concerns that include: 

  • To what extent did the Welsh and UK Governments share scientific, medical, legal and other expert knowledge
  • How, why, and on what basis, did Welsh Government decisions differ from those taken by the UK Government
  • Whether, and if so to what extent, decisions taken (or not taken) were justified by the emerging state of knowledge in all of its forms
  • Whether, and if so to what extent, Welsh Government decisions were supported by expert opinion across the disciplines
  • To what extent were the decisions and actions of the Welsh Government influenced by political considerations

The Inquiry is based in London and will hear evidence there starting in 2023. There will be a hearing held here in Wales for Module 2B.

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