BBC appoints Lord Dyson to lead independent investigation

The BBC Board has approved the appointment of the Rt. Hon. Lord Dyson to lead the independent investigation into the circumstances around the 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales.

Published: 12:19 pm, 18 November 2020
Updated: 12:18 pm, 18 November 2020
This is an important investigation which I will start straight away. I will ensure it is both thorough and fair.
— Lord Dyson

Tim Davie, BBC Director-General, says: “The BBC is determined to get to the truth about these events and that is why we have commissioned an independent investigation. Formerly Master of the Rolls and a Justice of the Supreme Court, Lord Dyson is an eminent and highly respected figure who will lead a thorough process.”

Lord Dyson says: “This is an important investigation which I will start straight away. I will ensure it is both thorough and fair.”

The terms of reference for the independent investigation are as follows:

  1. What steps did the BBC and in particular Martin Bashir take with a view to obtaining the Panorama interview on 20 November 1995 with Diana, Princess of Wales? This will involve a consideration of all the relevant evidence including (i) the mocked up bank statements purporting to show payments to a former employee of Earl Spencer (ii) the purported payments to members of the Royal Households; and (iii) the other matters recently raised by Earl Spencer not limited to the matters published in the Daily Mail on 7 November 2020.
  2. Were those steps appropriate, having regard in particular to the BBC’s editorial standards prevailing at the time?
  3. To what extent did the actions of the BBC and in particular Martin Bashir influence Diana, Princess of Wales’s decision to give an interview?
  4. What knowledge did the BBC have in 1995 and 1996 of the relevant evidence referred to at paragraph 1 above?
  5. Having regard to what was known at the time of its investigation in 1995 and 1996, how effectively did the BBC investigate the circumstances leading to the interview?

The investigation will start straight away and the BBC is handing over all of its relevant records.

The BBC will publish the report of this investigation at its conclusion.

Lord Dyson has appointed Fieldfisher LLP as solicitors to the independent investigation.


Notes to editors

  • Lord Dyson was Master of the Rolls (President of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales and Head of Civil Justice) for four years until he retired in October 2016. He was a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom from April 2010 until October 2012. He was a Lord Justice of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales from 2001 until 2010. He was a Judge of the High Court of England and Wales from 1993 until 2001, and the Judge in charge of the Technology and Construction Court from 1998 until 2001. He was a Recorder from 1986 until 1993. Lord Dyson was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 1968. He was Treasurer of the Inn in 2017.
  • Fieldfisher has a particular track record of advising those conducting major public inquiries, inquests and other types of investigation. The team has acted as solicitors to the Inquest in to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed, the 7/7 London bombings inquests, the Litvinenko Inquiry and the Baha Mousa Inquiry. They currently act as solicitors to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, the Manchester Arena Inquiry, and the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel.
  • Lord Dyson will not be giving media interviews on this matter during the investigation. Any future media enquiries for Lord Dyson or Fieldfisher LLP (outside today’s announcement) will be handled by EF.
  • The BBC will not be offering further public commentary during the process of the investigation.