• Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

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Yarm solicitor handed role in UK’s biggest child sex abuse inquiry

A NORTH Yorkshire solicitor has been appointed to represent Ampleforth College at one of the UK’s biggest-ever public inquiries.

Giles Ward, from Yarm, is acting on behalf of the school at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in London, chaired by Professor Alexis Jay OBE.

Its first public hearing into allegations of historic child sexual abuse and exploitation in the Roman Catholic Church is expected to last until the end of next week.

The North Yorkshire school is a long-standing client of former Redcar resident Giles’, who is senior partner and Head of Litigation for the Leeds-based Milners solicitors.

He said: “IICSA is the biggest-ever independent inquiry into child sexual abuse ever witnessed in the UK.

“We have a developing specialism in supporting clients at complex and high-profile independent inquiries and I am among just a handful of regional lawyers involved in this core part of the IICSA hearings.

“It once again demonstrates the North’s legal sector’s ability to work at the highest level nationally and under the intense public, press and political spotlight that IICSA generates.”

The IICSA panel will examine the relationship between Orders, such as the Benedictines and the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and consider how that relationship impacts on child protection.

It will also evaluate whether any failings identified within the English Benedictine Congregation, and within any other case studies identified as part of the investigation, are representative of wider failings within the Catholic Church.

There are currently 13 investigative strands to the inquiry, which also include children in the care of Lambeth Council; the Anglican Church and Westminster.

There are almost 200 individuals and organisations who have been given “core participant” status by the inquiry.

The public hearings are expected to last until 2019 and the final outcome of the inquiry, which is costing around £20m a year, will not be published for several years.