Legal team who survived three-year endurance course

THE SCOTT REPORT
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The Independent Online
After more than three years, Sir Richard Scott has had enough. Like everyone else seconded to his marathon inquiry, he wants nothing more than to pick up the threads of his judicial career and get back into court full-time.

As Vice-Chancellor, he is the third most powerful judge in the land after the Law Lords, overseeing the Chancery Division of the High Court and responsible for hearing some of the most complex legal cases. Sir Richard's promotion from Lord Justice in the Court of Appeal, came during the inquiry.

Married to Rima, a Panamanian, he has four children, one of whom has converted to Islam. He lives in Buckinghamshire and can be found most weekends fox-hunting in Northamptonshire. He is also a keen tennis and bridge player. Physically fit, he endeared himself to many - but left himself wide open to accusations of eccentricity by others - by riding his bicycle from Marylebone station to the inquiry's Westminster offices.

The traditional next step for the Vice-Chancellor is Law Lord in the House of Lords. His first move, though, will be to take a six-day holiday - desperate for some peace and quiet after constant demands from the press for interviews and photo-opportunities - though he will not say where.

The chief scourge of the politicians and officials in the inquiry's public hearings was Presiley Baxendale QC. She was reportedly paid pounds 800 a day to wade into senior politicians and officials. Married to a tax barrister, with two children, she has already returned to her barristers' chambers - she is a member of the same set as Lord Lester, the Liberal Democrat peer and human rights advocate.

Christopher Muttukumaru kept his public appearances to a minimum but his name cropped up regularly on inquiry press releases and letters to ministers. Secretary to the inquiry, he was the judge's behind-the-scenes Mr Fixit and front-of-house spokesman.

A qualified barrister, Mr Muttukumaru worked in the offices of the Attorney General, Sir Nicholas Lyell, one of the central witnesses to the inquiry. From there, he joined the Treasury Solicitor's department, before being seconded to the inquiry.

His experience and intimate knowledge of Whitehall, especially the legal side, was invaluable to the inquiry. His persistent harrying of witnesses for their written evidence and his high profile, though, has not endeared him to his former colleagues.

He is understood to want to return to his old stamping ground but he is unlikely to be welcomed with open arms. More likely is that having made his name and reputation he will adopt a high-profile position well away from the constraints of Whitehall.

Another senior member of the 13-strong inquiry team hoping to return to the government service is David Price, its press spokesman. He has had a difficult job, balancing the press desire for information with the need to be seen to be scrupulous. At times, especially when MPs began clucking that progress was slow, Mr Price's customary cool almost buckled. Formerly at the Department of Health, he hopes to return to another press post somewhere in Whitehall.

The inquiry's offices in Palace Street, Victoria, belong to the Department of Trade and Industry but will not be handed back immediately.

The record-breaking report

t Lasted 3 years, 3 months, 5 days;

t Examined 200,000 pages of written material, received

evidence from 270 witnesses of whom 82 gave oral evidence;

t 61 gave evidence in public, 21 in private;

t Had full-time staff of 13, cost pounds 1.7m and produced five- volume report of 2,000 pages;

t Further 10,000 pages to go to Public Record Office.

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