28 September 2018

Preliminary hearings now complete

Three days of opening statements now finished with witness hearings to begin in April 2019.

The Infected Blood Inquiry has now completed three days of preliminary hearings at Church House in London.

During these hearing the Inquiry heard opening statements from the Chair of the Inquiry, Sir Brian Langstaff, from Counsel to the Inquiry, Jenni Richards QC, and from the 1,288 core participants through their legal representatives and directly from those unrepresented.

Transcripts from all three days are now available on our website and you can watch the videos of both the commemoration that opened the Inquiry and all the statements made via our YouTube channel.

In his opening statement Sir Brian outlined the principles under which he expects the Inquiry to operate:

  • People: Individuals will be at the heart of the Inquiry - those infected and affected will be heard first (and not just in London but UK wide), the hearings will not be in a courtroom, and the Inquiry recognises how traumatic giving evidence may be and will work in a sensitive manner.
  • Thoroughness: The Inquiry will be completed as quickly as reasonable thoroughness permits - we recognise that those infected and affected are still suffering today.
  • Respect: Respect for a person’s entitlement to be heard. The Inquiry recognises that people will bring different perspectives and all will be given a proper hearing.
  • Openness and Transparency: The Inquiry will be as open and transparent as it is legally possible to be. It will be independent of government and frightened of no one in the conclusions it draws.
  • Independence: its conclusions will be made “without fear or favour, affection or ill will”
  • Listening: The Inquiry will listen both to procedural suggestions from core participants and to the evidence and give both proper thought.

As part of her opening statement, Jenni Richards QC outlined what the Inquiry would be doing next. Witness hearings from infected and affected people will begin on 30 April 2019 in London before moving around the UK.

In his closing remarks on Wednesday, Sir Brian thanked everyone for attending and the spirit in which the Inquiry had begun as well as reiterating that if the Inquiry was to get to the truth it would be a collaborative effort including people who may not yet have come forward. 

For anyone who wishes to share their experience with the Inquiry, a short form can be found here.