ate Brunner QC has been appointed Chair of the forthcoming independent review into the Isle of Man Government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Due to commence later this year, the review will cover the period from December 2019 to the end of September 2021, assessing decisions made by the Government during that time and identifying any lessons to be learnt.
It will also deliver recommendations to ensure that this knowledge is fed into current working practices, and to improve the way Government deals with any future emergency response to a pandemic.
In line with the Terms of Reference agreed by Tynwald in April, Ms Brunner QC is tasked with delivering a final report to Tynwald by 31 December 2023.
Minister for Justice and Home Affairs Jane Poole-Wilson MHK chaired the panel which made the appointment. She said:
‘This excellent appointment is the result of a rigorous selection process, and interviews taking place with six high-quality candidates. I’m delighted that Ms Brunner QC has accepted the role of Chair and look forward to her visiting the Island next month to begin work in preparation for the forthcoming review.
‘The attributes and experience she brings to the role will ensure the review is undertaken in a detailed and methodical manner. I’m confident that the way the Isle of Man Government responded to unprecedented circumstances as the result of global pandemic will be examined with precision and care, and will lead to important results to help inform decision-making in the future.’
Called to the bar in 1997, Ms Brunner QC possesses long-standing experience in a range of different areas including criminal law, healthcare law and public law. As Leader of the Western Circuit, she is elected to lead 2,000 barristers in one of the six legal areas or ‘circuits’ of England and Wales, and has led reviews into the closure of courts, and safety in courts during the pandemic.
Ms Brunner QC currently holds two part-time judicial positions in crime and public law, and also chairs the pharmaceutical regulator’s Appeal Board. This work will not affect her role as Chair of the independent review and delivery of the report to Tynwald.
Referring to her appointment, she said:
'I look forward to leading a comprehensive review into the Manx government's handling of the pandemic. This will be an entirely independent process, with a focus on drawing out lessons to be learned so that the island can become even more resilient to any future pandemics or similar crises.
‘I recognise the importance of hearing from individuals and groups about how they were affected, as well as investigating government procedures and decision-making. The first steps will involve recruiting a team and setting the methodology, and the anticipated timetable of evidence-gathering will be published as soon as possible'