Lowell Goddard
Justice Lowell Goddard has been appointed new chairman of child abuse inquiryHome Office

Theresa May has appointed a New Zealand judge to chair the troubled government inquiry into historic child abuse.

Justice Lowell Goddard is the third person to be made the chair of the inquiry, following the resignations of Fiona Woolf and Baroness Butler-Sloss, over concerns about their links to the establishment.

May said Goddard, a judge of the High Court of New Zealand, was named new chairmen from a list of 150 nominations as she matched a set of criteria set put by the victims involved in the inquiry.

She had previously conducted an inquiry into child abuse in her home nation and "crucially" is well removed from the British establishment involved in the inquiry.

May said: "[Goddard] is an outstanding candidate with experience in challenging authority in this field, having led with distinction an inquiry into police handling of child abuse cases in New Zealand.

"I am grateful for the input of survivors and their representatives who have been involved in discussions regarding my appointment, as well as the previous Panel for all its work which will not be lost.

"We must leave no stone unturned if we are to take this once in a generation opportunity to get to the truth."

The Home Secretary also told the House of Commons the current panel in the inquiry will be dissolved and replaced.

The inquiry was set up in July by Home Secretary Theresa May over allegations of a high-profile Westminster paedophile ring in the 1980s. however, it has had a stuttering start following the resignations of its two first choice chairs.

Victims have also said they have been frequently being "let down" by the lack of progress in the inquiry. Labour have also urged the "farcical" inquiry to be scrapped and the existing panel replaced with a more powerful body.

Butler-Sloss stood down as chair in July over concerns about her links to the establishment, as her late brother Lord Havers, was attorney general in the 1980s.

Her replacement, Dame Fiona Woolf, also resigned because of her connection to the former home secretary Leon Brittan, who died last month aged 75.

Alison Millar, from the law firm Leigh Day, which is representing dozens of abuse victims, said the inquiry has so far been a "shambles".

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Obviously, rebooting this inquiry so that it has a new head in terms of the chair and so it is reconstituted with statutory powers, I think that's very important.

She added: "The people I represent have really been waiting a lifetime for an inquiry like this but have become increasingly sceptical that this inquiry is going to get to the fundamental truth given the shambles there has been in the over 200 days since it was first set up."