Heralding a new era for public inquiries, the Morris Inquiry into the Metropolitan Police is proceeding without any advocates.
The inquiry into how the Metropolitan Police handles high-profile complaints following the controversial Ali Dizaei case has named Clifford Chance as its official adviser, but has rejected the idea of counsel as being too adversarial.
Public inquiries have long been critisised as gravy trains for lawyers, particularly barristers.
This month, the cost of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry was revealed to have soared to £127m, with the vast majority of the bill going on payments to the legions of barristers employed on the six-year case.
The Morris Inquiry, chaired by the former general secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union, has appointed 36 Bedford Row’s Anesta Weekes QC onto its panel, but she is not taking an advocacy role. One source close to the inquiry said: “This inquiry will be about investigation and contemplation, and not about sport for barristers.”
The Metropolitan Police still has its contract for solicitors out to tender, even though the inquiry has already started.
The Lawyer understands that Berrymans Lace Mawer, which along with Weightman Vizards won a contract to act as the Met’s main civil litigation adviser in 2002, has been advising the Met on matters pertaining to the inquiry for some months.
A Scotland Yard press officer confirmed that a tender is underway and that the result is likely to be announced within the next fortnight.
A Berrymans spokesperson confirmed that the matter is out to tender and that Berrymans has pitched for the work.