Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Sir Ross Cranston to chair independent inquiry into 2021 Channel crossing tragedy [January 2024]

The press release issued by the Department for Transport on 11 January 2024.

Cranston Inquiry to look into the events of 24 November 2021, when at least 27 people lost their lives crossing the Channel.

  • former Judge and Solicitor General, Sir Ross Cranston, announced as Chair of independent inquiry into 24 November 2021 Channel crossing tragedy, announced on 9 November 2023
  • terms of reference also published, with inquiry designed to allow a public, transparent hearing into the circumstances of the deaths to take place
  • inquiry will examine the events of 24 November 2021, when at least 27 people lost their lives crossing the Channel

Former judge and Solicitor General, Sir Ross Cranston, is to chair the independent inquiry into the events of 24 November 2021, when at least 27 people lost their lives crossing the Channel.

The Cranston Inquiry will look into who the deceased were, and when, where and in what circumstances they came by their deaths.

It will also consider what further lessons can be learned from the events of 24 November 2021 and, if appropriate, make recommendations to reduce the risk of a similar event occurring.

The inquiry was announced on 9 November 2023 by the Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, following the publication of a report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) outlining the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, said:

This inquiry will allow a thorough and independent investigation into the circumstances of the deaths to take place.

I’m grateful that Sir Ross Cranston has agreed to chair the inquiry into this tragic event. I know that Sir Ross will conduct his work with thoroughness and professionalism.

I hope this inquiry will give the families of the victims the clarity they deserve.

Chair of the inquiry, Sir Ross Cranston, said:

I have been appointed to Chair the independent inquiry into the tragic incident in the Channel on 24 November 2021.

My inquiry will enable the survivors and family members of the deceased to be heard and to identify lessons that can be learned to avoid a similar tragedy in the future.

I aim to complete the inquiry and deliver my report to the Secretary of State for Transport as expeditiously as possible and will announce how the inquiry will proceed shortly.

See the terms of reference for the inquiry for more information.

Sir Ross Cranston is a professor of law at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is a former Judge of the High Court of England and Wales, who sat in the Queen’s Bench Division and, in 2016, became the judge in charge of the Administrative Court. In his political career, Sir Ross was MP for Dudley North between 1997 and 2005 and Solicitor General for England and Wales from 1998 to 2001.

Sir Ross has served on missions for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Commonwealth Secretariat, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Commission. He was, until 2022, Chair of Trustees of the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII), which provides free access to British, Irish and European Union legal material. In 2018, he chaired a committee of JUSTICE, which published a report: Immigration and asylum appeals – a fresh look. In 2019, he conducted an independent assurance review of Lloyds Bank’s handling of claims arising from fraud committed at the HSBOS Impaired Assets Office.

Rory Phillips KC, of 3 Verulam Buildings (3VB) Chambers, has been appointed Counsel to the inquiry. Stephen Brown, Deputy Director in the government legal department, has been appointed Solicitor to the inquiry.

The inquiry is on X (formerly Twitter) with the handle @CranstonInquiry. A website for the inquiry will be launched in due course.