Following the announcement of the forthcoming Public Inquiry, we feel it helpful to set out what we believe to be our role in relation to representing our members.
Firstly, we have spoken to members who do not want to be identified but have asked that we represent their views during the inquiry and we intend to act as their voice. Additionally, some of our members have asked that we represent them formally at the Inquiry, therefore we will offer a legal platform to do that.
We do not intend to presume or force any of our members to be represented by us. Far from it. We know that some continue to be members of The Society but wish to be represented by alternative legal representatives. That is a personal choice and we respect it.
In the interests of openness and fairness, we should point out that we anticipate other groups will seek to be core participants at the inquiry and people are free to choose who they want to represent them. We do not see a conflict in continuing to be a member of The Society and being represented by a different legal firm.
Secondly, in previous inquiries Societies have played a role as representatives for many personally affected and been investigated as an active participant at the time. We see no reason why the UK inquiry should be any different. We have stated that when it comes to investigating the actions of The Society we fully expect to be called to give evidence and be questioned by other legal representatives so the truth can be uncovered.
We welcome this so any lessons can be learnt and the truth exposed. We intend to be open and transparent in relation to what happened at the time.
We would point out that no one currently employed or on the board of trustees at The Society now, was involved at that time, but many have been personally affected by this. We all share the community’s quest for the truth.
Finally, we are aware that our motive behind a request for members to send any evidence to us for use at the forthcoming inquiry has been questioned by some. We published a statement on our website in response to requests by our members asking whether they could send us information and what to do with evidence or documents they had. We are aware that it has been suggested some of these documents may be subject to legal privilege. We are not lawyers and do not offer legal advice.
If you are concerned about privilege, we would suggest you consult a lawyer and of course don’t send any such documentation to us. There will be an option for you to send documents directly to the inquiry in due course. Our intention was to help our members in response to direct requests. All documentation sent to us will be submitted as required by the inquiry.