Independent lessons learnt review into Bishop Whitsey case


His Hon David Pearl has been appointed by the National Safeguarding Team as chair of the independent lessons learnt review into the Whitsey case. The Church supported a police investigation into allegations of sexual offences against children and adults by the late Bishop Hubert Victor Whitsey. The allegations dated from 1974 onwards when he was Bishop of Chester and from 1981 while he was retired and living in Blackburn diocese. Bishop Whitsey died in 1987.

The review is expected to be carried out in two phases and will include the case of Gordon Dickenson, once other Church processes have concluded. Dickenson, a former chaplain to Bishop Whitsey, was jailed in March after admitting sexually assaulting a boy in the 1970s.

Commenting on his appointment David Pearl said: “I am committed to ensuring that this Review will be both independent and transparent. The Review will examine all relevant documents and will hear from everyone who wishes to provide evidence to the Review.”

More information

His Honour David Pearl taught Law at Cambridge University (1967-1989) and at the University of East Anglia where he was Professor of Law and Dean of the Law School (1989-1994). He became a Judge in 1994 and held a series of high profile judicial positions including Chief Adjudicator of Immigration Appeals, President of the Immigration Appeals Tribunal, Director of Studies of the Judicial Studies Board, President of the Care Standards Tribunal, and the Lead Judge of the Upper Tribunal hearing appeals from decisions made by the Independent Safeguarding Authority. He sat as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Family Court and the Administrative Court. He was also a Commissioner of the Judicial Appointments Commission.

In 2012, he was appointed by the General Medical Council to implement the newly created Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service which hears cases regarding medical practitioners’ fitness to practice. He retired from this position in December 2016.

The Terms of Reference for the review can be found here.