Everything you need to know about the independent inquiry into child sex abuse


On Thursday the senior lawyer of the Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, Ben Emmerson QC, resigned, in a further development into the troubled independent inquiry.

To get you up to speed with this complicated subject, here's everything you need to know so far.

Theresa May first set up the inquiry in July 2014 when she was home secretary, with the aim to investigate whether "state and non-state institutions" have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse within England and Wales.

Baroness Butler-Sloss

The inquiry was troubled from the start: just two days after it was established, its chairwoman Baroness Butler-Sloss faced calls to quit due to a potential conflict of interest. She resigned a couple of days after.

The next chairwoman, Dame Fiona Woolf, a leading tax lawyer and then Lord Mayor of the City of London, was in the role for under two months. She quit after questions over her suitability.

Fiona Woolf

After this, May disbanded the inquiry and set up a replacement. The new chairwoman was New Zealand High Court judge Dame Lowell Goddard. In July 2016 she officially opened the inquiry and held the first hearing on the investigation into allegations against Lord Greville Janner, who died the previous December.

In August of this year Goddard became the third chairwoman to resign, to be replaced by Alexis Jay, who led a previous inquiry into sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

Dame Lowell Goddard

If it wasn't already clear that the inquiry was plagued with difficulties, following her resignation Lowell called for the inquiry to be overhauled, saying "there is an inherent problem in the sheer scale and size".

Goddard herself was criticised for spending more than 70 days abroad or on holiday during her first year in the role, especially considering she was Britain's highest paid civil servant.

Alexis Jay

Now the latest development in the Inquiry involves Ben Emmerson QC, council to the inquiry. On September 28 he was suspended from duty and a spokeswoman said that they were "very concerned about" aspects of his leadership.

He has since resigned, saying "it is now time for someone else to take the helm". Only time will tell who this will be and how that will pan out for the inquiry.