Core Participants and witnesses submitting evidence can engage with the Inquiry directly, with the help of legal representation or with the assistance of the Inquiry team.
Q: I would like to participate in the Inquiry. Is it necessary to be represented by a lawyer?
A: No. You do not need to be represented by a lawyer to participate in the Inquiry. You can give a witness statement to the Inquiry team, and follow the work of the Inquiry through our website, newsletters and local meetings.
Q: Why have some people infected and affected chosen to be legally represented?
A: This is a personal choice that each individual has made for different reasons. Legal representatives can help you draft your written statement and support you if you are called to give oral evidence. They can also represent you if you successfully apply to be a core participant.
Q: Why are there different firms representing people infected and affected? If I want a lawyer, do I have to be represented by one of them?
A: You can find a list of legal representatives recognised by the Inquiry below. The Inquiry expects to receive around 2,500 witness statements. The Chair of the Inquiry has designated a number of law firms to work with the Inquiry and represent core participants. This means that they will be funded for representing their clients, taking witness statements from them, and doing other work linked to the Inquiry. Their clients will not be charged for this work.
You can apply to be represented by one of these firms which will receive public funding to do so. If you do not wish to be appointed as a core participant, but still wish to provide a written statement to the Inquiry, you can be represented by one of these firms or choose another legal representative (which would be publicly funded to work on your written statement).
Q: Is there any difference between the designated law firms?
A: A number of law firms have been involved for some years in representing people infected and affected in civil litigation and previous inquiries. Over the years they have gathered significant numbers of clients and are representing them in this Inquiry. Some firms represent people in specific parts of the UK.
Q: Will it cost me anything to give a witness statement to a law firm?
A: No. Law firms can apply to the Inquiry for funding to take your witness statement.
Q: I was affected by treatment with infected blood and want to provide evidence to the Inquiry. Will I have any support if I deal with the Inquiry directly?
A: Yes. The Inquiry team will assist you to provide your evidence. There are three options available to you:
The Inquiry team can interview you and take your statement (see below). You will then have the opportunity to review and edit your statement until you are happy with it;
You can draft your own written statement. The Inquiry team will provide support over the phone or by e-mail to ensure your statement meets the Inquiry’s requirements, and to answer any questions you may have; or
You can share your experience with an Inquiry intermediary who will submit a report to the Chair of the Inquiry summarising a number of witnesses’ experiences, including your own.
The Inquiry cannot, however, represent you further in the Inquiry or give you legal advice in relation to your statement.
Q: What role do core participants play in the Inquiry?
A: Details on what’s involved in being a core participant can be found here.
Q: How do I apply to be a core participant?
A: Details on how to become a core participant can be found here.
Q: Which law firms are representing core participants?
A: The law firms that already represent core participants are:
The following legal representatives have been designated as recognised legal representatives for core participants.
|Core participants||Recognised legal representative||Counsel team||Funded through the Inquiry?|
956 individuals who have been infected or affected
Steven Snowden QC
|Scottish National Blood Transfusions Service||Central Legal Office NHS NSS||Simon Bowie QC||No|
|NI Blood Transfusion Service||Directorate of Legal Services||No|
|Regional Health and Social Care Board NI||Directorate of Legal Services||No|
|Belfast Health and Social Care Trust||Directorate of Legal Services, Practitioners in law to the Health and Social Care Sector||Alphy Magginness||No|
|Department of Health and Social Care||Government Legal Department||
Eleanor Gray QC
|4 individuals who have been infected or affected||Hudgell Solicitors||
Karon Monaghan QC
|Welsh Blood Service, Velindre NHS Trust||Legal and Risk Services||Debra Powell QC||No|
|304 individuals who have been infected or affected||Leigh Day||
David Lock QC
|The Haemophilia Society||Eversheds||Yes|
|4 individuals who have been infected or affected||Milners||
289 individuals who have been infected or affected
Scottish Infected Blood Forum
|Thompsons Solicitors Scotland||
Aiden O'Neill QC
124 individuals who have been infected or affected
Haemophilia Northern Ireland
|Watkins & Gunn Solicitors||
Lloyd Williams QC
NHS Blood and Transplant
|Weightmans||Charlie Cory Wright QC||No|