6 Aug 2019

The Inquiry aims to be open and transparent as possible. The Chairman will hear evidence from core participants and other witnesses. Counsel to the Inquiry or the Chairman may ask questions based on their statements.

In the normal course of events, a witness called to give evidence at open hearings will be expected to provide their evidence in public, in full view of those attending.

However, witnesses can request special measures to protect restricted identities or information, of because of their health or location. Special measures could include counselling, a hearing loop or giving evidence via a video-link.

During the hearings, the Inquiry will publish daily transcripts of the hearings and any documents referred to that day, subject to any restriction orders.

The Chairman wants to create the optimal conditions for getting to the truth by hearing evidence in full from all sides. In his statement of 19 December 2018, he set out his views on why live-streaming of the evidence for certain witnesses would be incompatible with protecting their rights and interests and may infringe restriction order made. Video footage of the opening and closing submissions will be published on the Inquiry website following each of those hearing days.

The Inquiry will ensure that there is sufficient public and media access in place for the hearings.

Further information on the hearings venue and how hearings will work can be found in the hearings protocol.

Conduct of Tranche 1 evidence hearings

Due to the social distancing measures expected to be in place and the fact that many of the proposed witnesses fall into a higher risk group, the hearings in November will be virtual and conducted remotely.

The hearings will start on Monday 2 November with seven days of opening statements. Those given live will be live-streamed on the Inquiry website with a five-minute delay. Recorded and written opening statements will also be published on the Inquiry website. The evidence hearings will be live streamed – in real-time – to a central London venue open to core participants, the media and the general public.

Anyone wishing to attend the evidence hearings should register via the Inquiry website between Monday 5 October and 4 pm on Friday 23 October.

Hearings for phase 2 of Tranche 1 are expected to have similar arrangements to phase 1. However, the arrangements for Tranche 1 are not intended to be a template for future Tranches.

Further information on the evidence hearings can be found in the Inquiry’s ninth update note and the Chairman’s second statement about the conduct of tranche 1 evidence hearings.