While you can send your views to the inquiry directly, if we are already acting for you it is important that we are aware of your views. Our role is to present the views of our clients to the inquiry and to make sure that those views are heard. We will present both the individual issues raised by our clients and collective issues that apply to everyone we act for. We cannot, of course, take account of a view that we are not aware of.
The length of the Infected Blood Inquiry will depend on precisely what it covers and it may be extended over time. We are currently working on an estimate of approximately three to four years.
We would currently estimate the Group Action will take approximately two to three years. However, its course may be affected by the Infected Blood Inquiry and if so, it will take longer.
There is no cost to being represented at the Infected Blood Inquiry. Collins Solicitors’ fees will be paid by central government aid.
If you sign up to be represented by Collins Solicitors in the Group Action we will act for you under a conditional fee agreement, otherwise known as a 'no win, no fee' agreement. What this means is that you do not pay any fees to us if the case is not successful. If the case is successful, we will recover our fees from the Department of Health.
The Infected Blood Inquiry is a statutory inquiry into the Contaminated Blood scandal and there is no "claimant" or "defendant". It will investigate the evidence in order to seek the answers to the questions posed in the terms of reference. There will be oral hearings but there will not be a trial. While the Infected Blood Inquiry can make recommendations, it cannot order compensation. The Group Action is a case against the Department of Health. It alleges historic wrongdoing on the part of the Department of Health and there will be a trial to determine if the Department of Health was at fault for the Contaminated Blood scandal and its aftermath. If the claim is successful, compensation will be paid to people who have signed up.
It is advisable to get whatever medical records you can, particularly for deceased family members whose records may become unavailable over time. Collins Solicitors would welcome being sent these and we will take a copy before returning them to you.
You need to contact Collins, or another firm, to be added to the register of those involved in the Group Action. If you do not do so, you will not receive any compensation in the event of a successful outcome.
You also need to contact Collins Solicitors to be represented by the firm at the Infected Blood Inquiry. The findings of the inquiry will be public when they are complete, but we will only be advising those who are our clients.
Which firm to sign up with is a matter of personal choice. Collins Solicitors itself acts for over 1,000 clients directly as well as several major campaign groups. We were involved in the process leading to the Infected Blood Inquiry for over a year and are the firm that made the successful application for the group litigation order.
If you would like the evidence to form part of the case in the Group Action then you should send it to Collins Solicitors.
If you want to submit your evidence to the inquiry it would be better to send it to Collins Solicitors so that we can make sure that attention is drawn to it and to avoid duplication. However, it is possible to send it direct to the inquiry.
Contact Collins Solicitors on 01923 223 324 and ask for our Contaminated Blood Team, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org