Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry members

Inquiry opening session The inquiry is being held at Banbridge courthouse

The biggest public inquiry into child abuse ever held in the UK begin its first public hearings in Northern Ireland on 13 January.

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) is examining abuse claims in children's homes and juvenile justice over a 73-year period.

It was set up by Northern Ireland's power-sharing executive to investigate allegations dating from 1922 to 1995.

The inquiry is being chaired by Sir Anthony Hart. He will be assisted in his role by a number of other inquiry members.

The inquiry is also being supported by four acknowledgement forum panel members.

Their role is to provide a confidential forum for victims and survivors to recount their childhood experiences of living in institutions.

Sir Anthony Hart - chair

Sir Anthony Hart poses in front of the inquiry's appeal poster

Sir Anthony was called to the Northern Ireland Bar in September 1969, and to the Bar of England and Wales in 1975.

He became a Queen's Counsel in 1983, and was appointed a county court judge in 1985.

In 1997 he became the senior county court judge in Northern Ireland when he was appointed Recorder of Belfast, and in 2002 was the first person to be appointed as presiding judge of the County Courts in Northern Ireland.

In January 2005, he was appointed a high court judge, and until his retirement in January 2012 was responsible to the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland for the pre-trial hearings in, and listing of, all criminal cases heard by high court judges, and presided over many criminal trials.

Geraldine Doherty- statutory inquiry panel member

Geraldine Doherty

Geraldine Doherty qualified as a social worker in Belfast in 1979 and her first job was in residential child care in London.

She has wide experience of social work, social care practice, education and training, working in England and Scotland.

In 1996 she was appointed as the head of the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work in Scotland and in 2000 was seconded from that post to the Scottish Executive to advise on the establishment of national arrangements for the inspection and regulation of care services and the registration and regulation of social workers and social care workers.

In 2002, she was appointed as the first Registrar of the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).

David Lane - statutory inquiry panel member

David Lane

David Lane began his career working in residential child care, working mainly in the assessment of young offenders, and he ended his career with eight years as director of social services in Wakefield.

Since then he has been an independent consultant and has prepared expert witness reports for over 80 cases in which former children in care have sought damages for negligence.

He has also worked in a number of professional organisations, and for the last 12 years he has edited Children Webmag, a professional magazine for child care workers.

Christine Smith - senior counsel

Christine Smith

Christine Smith QC was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 1985 and to the Bar of Ireland in 1996.

She was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2011.

Ms Smith has practiced in many areas of law in Northern Ireland.

Her most extensive experience is as prosecuting counsel, in which she had considerable experience in dealing with victims of sexual and physical abuse.

Joseph Aiken - junior counsel

Joseph Aiken was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 1999. Prior to taking up his role he specialised in civil and commercial litigation, acting both for and against the government. He has a particular interest in public inquiries, and has contributed to the leading textbook in the area, Beer on Public Inquiries.

Patrick Butler - solicitor to the inquiry

Patrick Butler was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 1998. He has previously worked for the Equality Commission and for the departmental solicitor's office. He has extensive experience in a number of legal areas including employment law, company law, judicial review and Parole Commissioners work.

Andrew Browne - secretary to the inquiry

Andrew Browne has worked for the Northern Ireland Civil Service since 1980 and has served in a wide range of posts across four departments. He was secretary to the human organs inquiry and has assisted in setting up a number of public inquiries established by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS).

Beverley Clarke - acknowledgement forum inquiry panel member

Beverley Clarke has wide experience of social work and child care, working in England and Canada. She is an independent expert witness and has worked for the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office.

Norah Gibbons - acknowledgement forum inquiry panel member

Norah Gibbons is director of advocacy in Barnardo's Ireland. She was also a commissioner of the Ryan Inquiry into historical institutional abuse in the Republic of Ireland.

Dave Marshall QPM - acknowledgement forum inquiry panel member

Dave Marshall is a consultant in the field of child safeguarding, investigation and management. For nine years he was detective chief inspector and head of the Metropolitan Police child abuse investigation command's major investigation team.

Tom Shaw CBE - acknowledgement forum inquiry panel member

Tom Shaw was invited by Scottish ministers to review the regulatory framework in Scotland designed to ensure the welfare needs and rights of children in residential institutions from 1945-95. Subsequently he chaired Time to be Heard, a pilot acknowledgement forum for those who had experienced abuse in residential children's institutions in Scotland.

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