The Inquiry Team

Updated:  27th July 2016

Chair of the Inquiry

Sir Anthony Hart 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 and David Lane will work alongside retired judge Sir Anthony Hart. Both have extensive experience of social and child care in England and Scotland and are experts in their field.

Statutory Inquiry Panel Members

Geraldine Doherty

Geraldine 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. Geraldine was appointed in 2002 as the first Registrar of the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC); all residential child care workers in Scotland must register with the SSSC, achieve relevant qualifications and abide by the SSSC Code of Practice.

David Lane CBE

David commenced his career with eight years 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 the city of Wakefield. Since then he has been an independent consultant, and has prepared expert witness reports for over eighty cases in which former children in care have sought damages for negligence. He has played a major role in a number of professional organisations, and for the last twelve years he has edited Children Webmag, a professional magazine for child care workers.

Acknowledgement Forum Panel Members

The Inquiry included a confidential 'Acknowledgement Forum' in which victims and survivors could recount their childhood experiences of living in institutions to members of the Inquiry Panel. The Acknowledgement Forum Panel Members were:

Beverley Clarke

Beverley 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

Norah was a Director of Advocacy in Barnardo’s Ireland. She was also a Commissioner of the Ryan Inquiry into historical institutional abuse in Ireland.

Dave Marshall QPM

Dave 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

Tom 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.

Secretary to the Inquiry

Andrew Browne

Andrew has been a member of 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 DHSSPS.

Solicitor to the Inquiry

Patrick Butler

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. Patrick has extensive experience of a number of legal areas including employment law, company law, judicial review and Parole Commissioners work.

Counsel to the Inquiry

Christine Smith - Senior Counsel

Christine Smith QC has been appointed as Senior Counsel to the Inquiry.  She 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 role she has 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 as Junior Counsel to the Inquiry 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” published by Oxford University Press in 2011.