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Preliminary Hearings Frequently Asked Questions

What is a preliminary hearing?

A preliminary hearing is a legal hearing which considers procedural issues relating to the conduct of future public hearings and the Inquiry’s investigations. The issues that will be decided at preliminary hearings will include the timetable for public hearings, naming individuals and institutions as core participants and other procedural matters.

What is the difference between a preliminary hearing and a public hearing?

A preliminary hearing is a procedural hearing at which decisions about the procedure for the conduct of public hearings will be made. At public hearings the Inquiry will formally hear evidence, including from witnesses on oath.

Who takes part in a preliminary hearing?

Counsel to the Inquiry and legal representatives of core participants or potential core participants will make submissions on procedural matters. An agenda setting out the matters to be covered by each preliminary hearing will be published on the Inquiry’s website in advance of the hearing.

When will the first preliminary hearings take place?

The Inquiry has announced that the first preliminary hearing will take place on 9 March 2016. It will focus on deciding procedural matters relating to the investigation into the allegations concerning Lord Greville Janner and the institutions involved in those allegations. The Inquiry will announce future hearings on its website.

Can the public attend a preliminary hearing?

Both preliminary hearings and public hearings are generally open to the public. However, it may be necessary for the Inquiry to hold some hearings in closed session. There will be a small public gallery at each preliminary hearing and places allocated on a first come, first served basis. A number of spaces will also be reserved for the media.

Will the preliminary hearings be televised?

The preliminary hearings will not be televised but transcripts of each preliminary hearing will be available on the IICSA website a few hours after the end of each hearing.

I am attending the Truth Project, will I be required to attend a preliminary hearing?

No, there is no requirement for any person who has attended the Truth Project to attend a preliminary hearing. If victims and survivors of child sexual abuse have applied to become a core participant, then they will be informed by the Inquiry’s legal team whether their application will be considered at a preliminary hearing.

How will I know if I am expected to attend a preliminary hearing?

The Inquiry’s legal team will correspond with any individuals or institutions that it considers may wish to attend or be represented at a preliminary hearing.

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