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Vaccine Trials Inquiry

The Vaccine Trials Inquiry was a Division of the Investigation Committee.

Judicial Review proceedings seeking, inter alia , a declaration that the Order which established the Vaccine Trials Inquiry was ultra vires the Act of 2000, were initiated in November 2003. On 25 November, 2003, an undertaking was given to the High Court, by the Commission, that it would not conduct any hearings in relation to the matters within the ambit of the Order, until the matter was settled. The practical effect of this undertaking was that the work of the Division was suspended at that point and never re-commenced, given the subsequent decision of the Court, that the Order was ultra vires the Act.

Consequently, the material below is, effectively, for archive/historical purposes only, as and from November 2003.


The Honourable Mr Justice Sean Ryan, Chairperson of the Commission

Professor Edward Tempany, retired consultant paediatrician

Functions of the Commission inrelation to Vaccine Trials

As provided for in SI No.280/2001, to inquire into-

  1. the 3 vaccine trials referred to in the Report of the Chief Medical Officer referred to the Commission by the Minister for Health and Children on 13th November 2000 (detailed below), and
  2. any other vaccine trial found by the Commission to have taken place in an institution between 1940 and 1987 based on an allegation by a person who was a child in that institution that he or she was the subject of such a vaccine trial.

Report on Clinical Trials

Report by the Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Health and Children, referred to the Commission by the Minister for Health and Children on 13th November 2000, entitled

"Report on Three Clinical Trials Involving Babies and Children in Institutional Settings 1960/1961, 1970 and 1973".

Contacting the Commission With Information on Vaccine Trials

The Commission invites any person who alleges that as a child in an institution between 1949 and 1987 he or she was the subject of a vaccine trial to contact the Commission before Thursday 28th March 2002 giving particular details (Please see Notice Board for Advertisement)

Public Hearings

It is the intention that public hearings will be part of the Vaccine Trials Inquiry at a later stage.

The modus operandi of the Vaccine Trials Inquiry is as follows:

  1. preliminary investigation of the evidence available,
  2. determination by the Vaccine Trials Division of the Investigation Committee of what it considers to be evidence relevant to the matters into which it is obliged to inquire,
  3. service of such evidence on persons likely to be affected by it,
  4. public hearing of witnesses in regard to such evidence, the cross-examination of such witnesses by or on behalf of persons affected thereby, and
  5. preparation of a report and the making of determinations and recommendations based on the facts established at the public hearings.

Legal Team

Staff of the Vaccine Trials Inquiry

Vaccine Trials Questionnaire

A questionnaire, seeking further and more detailed information to further progress the investigation, issued in April 2002 to all those who contacted the Vaccine Trials Inquiry Division of the Commission prior to the closing date of 28 March 2002.

Download the Vaccine Trials Inquiry Questionnaire in PDF : HTML

Vaccine Trials Rulings and Directions

To Download a Ruling please click on the Reference Number.

Reference Number


This ruling sets out the decision of the Vaccine Trials Division of the Investigation Committee (the Division) on the following applications for legal representation heard at a procedural hearing of the Division held in public on 30th May, 2003.

Some documents in the website are in PDF format. How to download PDF files