24 January 2019

Inquiry confirms dates and venues for public hearings and outlines how witnesses will be selected

Hearings will take place in cities around the UK to hear evidence from people infected and affected

We have today confirmed the dates and venues for the first public hearings when people infected and affected will give oral evidence as part of the Inquiry. We have also outlined how the Chair will select which witnesses to call to give their evidence.

The dates and locations are as follows:

  • London (Fleetbank House) - 30 April-3 May, 7-10 May

  • Belfast (International Conference Centre Belfast, Waterfront Hall) - 21-24 May

  • London (Fleetbank House) - 4-7 June

  • Leeds (Crowne Plaza Hotel) - 11-14 June, 18-21 June

  • Edinburgh (Edinburgh International Conference Centre) - 2-5 July, 8-11 July

  • Cardiff (Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama) - 23-26 July

  • London (Fleetbank House) - 8-11 October, 15-18 October

There will be a further phase of Inquiry hearings throughout the autumn which will be announced in due course.

We have also today published a document as part of our “statements of approach”, which explains how the Inquiry will decide who will be asked to give oral evidence during the hearings.

Given that we are expecting approximately 2500 written statements it is not possible for everyone to give oral evidence. However, every written statement will be read by the Chair and inform his findings. We expect that around 120 people will be able to give evidence during this phase of hearings. There will be further opportunities for people infected and affected to give oral evidence later in the Inquiry.

People will be selected by the Inquiry based on considerations including:

  • Geographic spread - people from all over the country

  • A mixture of those infected and affected by either blood transfusion or blood-clotting products (such as Factor 8)

  • A range of conditions (for example HIV, hepatitis or co-infected)

  • People infected or affected from across a range of time periods that the Inquiry is concerned with

  • Individuals who were infected indirectly as a spouse or partner or child of someone infected

The Inquiry would also welcome recommendations and advice from the legal representatives of clients as they will often know their clients best.

Chair of the Inquiry, Sir Brian Langstaff, said:

“I am reading each and every written statement submitted to the Inquiry.  I am grateful to everyone who is giving a statement, speaking to the Inquiry’s intermediaries, and supporting family members and friends who are participating in the Inquiry.

You will see from the list of hearing dates and venues that, as I promised at the outset, people and their experiences are at the heart of this Inquiry, and that the Inquiry is honouring its undertaking to hear directly in major centres around the whole of the UK from those infected by blood or blood products, and those who have been affected by this.  

I have little doubt that their testimony will not only be poignant but also a powerful tool in helping to get to the truth of what happened.”

Details on registering to attend the hearings will be published in due course.