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The families' legal representatives last night criticised the proposed powers of the inquiry and warned they are considering further court action to force the UK Government to co-operate fully by setting up a joint Scottish/UK inquiry.

Solicitor Advocate Frank Maguire, of Thompsons Solicitors who represents the families of the two victims whose deaths from infected NHS blood supplies sparked the Inquiry, and many other blood supply and transfusion victims said:

"This inquiry will have no power to require the evidence of witnesses from UK departments, including the Department of Health nor will it have power to require them to produce all and any relevant documents.

"That means the families have absolutely no assurance that the Inquiry will have the powers it requires to get at the truth.

"We believe the family's rights under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights would only properly be respected with an inquiry set up jointly between the Scottish Government and the UK Government.

"But it now looks as though we may have to go to court to try and force the UK Government to co-operate with the Scottish Government.

"That is to be regretted because the families have already waited long enough for justice."

Mr Maguire added: "We welcome the appointment of Lord Penrose as a highly experienced retired judge, but he needs the necessary powers."

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