Hogan Lovells to give pro bono assistance to Mother and Baby Homes inquiry witnesses
Free legal assistance will be available to anyone making a statement to the inquiry into Mother and Baby Homes, thanks to a partnership between campaign groups and global law firm Hogan Lovells.
Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFMR) and Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) have announced a major project called Clann, which will provide individuals with free witness statement drafting assistance if they want to make a statement to the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and Certain Related Matters.
Hogan Lovells is supporting the project on a pro bono basis.
Those who compile a statement with the firm will retain a copy and be free to use it for any purpose, including making a written submission to the Commission should they wish not to appear in person.
JFMR and ARA said it is “crucial that those who wish to give evidence to the Commission of Investigation have access to legal assistance at no cost”.
Clann’s assistance will be available to people living anywhere in the world who have experience of Ireland’s treatment of unmarried mothers and their children, even if they do not fall under the list of 18 institutions initially being investigated by the Commission.
Clann will also anonymise donated statements and gather documentary materials in order to make a public group report to the Commission of Investigation, the Government, and human rights bodies.
The witness statement gathering process forms part of a larger project to create a permanent archive of the experiences of Ireland’s unmarried mothers and their children via the Clann website.
Hogan Lovells consultant Rod Baker said: “It’s a privilege to help give these mothers and their now adult children a voice through our work with the ARA and JFMR.
“The hit film Philomena, released in 2013, increased awareness of what happened in the Mother & Baby Homes and it is great that through this project we can help those affected to tell their stories.”