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Infected Blood Inquiry lawyers call for more detail on expert group appointed to advise on compensation

Infected Blood Inquiry lawyers have called for more information about an expert group appointed to advise on “detailed technical considerations” on compensation recommendations.

Posted on 14 February 2024

Solicitors at law firm Leigh Day say their clients are concerned that seeking further input from experts will cause further delay to compensation being paid.

Partner Emma Jones’ team, who represent the Hepatitis C Trust together with many other members of the infected blood community, made the call for more information after it was announced that Professor Sir Johnathan Montgomery would chair the expert group. No other members of the expert group have been named, and no detail has been given about the specific technical considerations on which the group will advise.

Professor Sir Johnathan Montgomery was a member of the Bioethics Council of international pharmaceutical company Bayer until last year. Given the involvement of Bayer in supplying infected blood products to the UK, Emma’s team say their clients see Professor Montgomery’s appointment as deeply insensitive.  

A comprehensive Compensation Framework Study has already been carried out by Sir Robert Francis, who published a report in June 2022 with potential options for compensation framework design. 

In April 2023, the Chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry, Sir Brian Langstaff published an interim report which called for financial compensation to be paid urgently to those infected and affected.

At hearings in July 2023, Sir Brian explained that while the publication of the interim report was unusual, he “could not countenance there being any further delay” before recommendations relating to compensation were actioned. 

Publication of Sir Brian’s final report has been put back to May 2024.

The Government has not made clear why further expert advice is required given the extensive work already undertaken by Sir Francis and by the Infected Blood Inquiry over the past five years.

Leigh Day clients say the financial compensation scheme can be done without waiting on Sir Brian’s final report.

Following the announcement of the appointment of Prof Sir Johnathan Montgomery, solicitor Beatrice Morgan said:

“It is important for the Government to be clear about the identities of the other members of the expert group and to be more specific about the matters on which they are providing advice. Many of our clients do not believe they will survive long enough to see compensation being paid, others are deeply concerned that they will again be denied the redress that they have been campaigning for over several decades.

“The Government has accepted that there is a moral case for compensation, however our clients have not been provided with reassurance that this will be paid or provided with a timeline for the setting up of any scheme. They have been left in limbo.”

Emma ‘s team represent over 297 Individuals affected by the contaminated blood scandal.

A team led by Leigh Day partner Gene Matthews represent individuals who hope to bring a civil claim for compensation.

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Beatrice Morgan 2023
Abuse Human rights Inquests

Beatrice Morgan

Beatrice Morgan is a senior associate solicitor in the human rights department.

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