There has been a second preliminary hearing on Module 1 (which concerns resilience and preparedness of the UK for the Covid pandemic) which took place on 14 February 2023. With regard to Rule 9 requests, Counsel to the Inquiry confirmed that:
- 160 Rule 9 requests have been sent out so far on Module 1;
- The Inquiry team has also had multiple meetings with many of the Government Rule
- 9 recipients on Module 1; and
- Only a handful of first time Rule 9s remain to be issued on Module 1.
The Covid Inquiry has just published the agenda for the first preliminary hearing for Module 3 which looks at the impact of the pandemic on healthcare. This will take place on 28 February 2023 and will focus on procedural matters.
The agenda is as follows:
- Designation of Core Participants
- Provisional Outline of Scope for Module 3
- Evidence gathering
- Disclosure to Core Participants
- The listening exercise/Every Story Matters
- Future hearing dates
As with the other preliminary hearing, there will be important comments from the Chair, Baroness Hallet, the Counsel to the Inquiry and submissions from some of the Core Participants.
By way of reminder, a Rule 9 request is a written request for evidence and may well be the first contact your organisation will receive from the Inquiry. Now is a good time to ensure your documents and data are stored correctly and clearly, as further Rule 9 requests will be sent out both on Module 1 on an iterative basis and the other Modules for the first time.
Please let us know if you would like to discuss your plan for gathering and sharing documents in a short timeframe, in order to be ready if and when you do receive a Rule 9 request.
Another important point to note is that as a result of the disclosure process taking longer than initially envisaged, Baroness Hallett has ruled that the Module 1 public hearing will now no longer commence in early May and will instead take place between 13 June 2023 – 21 July 2023. This has a knock on effect for the rest of the timetable, with the public hearing in Module 2 pushed back from June/July (though a date is not yet set for that). Baroness Hallett has also directed that there be a further Preliminary Hearing in Module 1 in late April 2023, provisionally on 25 April.
Bevan Brittan is ready to assist in the event that advice or support is required.
If it would be helpful to have an informal discussion at this stage, please feel free to contact Melanie Carter, Partner, Head of Inquiries or Sarah Court-Brown, Senior Associate.