‘Good outcome’ for Burges Salmon in Sellafield body parts inquiry

Burges Salmon has acted for the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) on the long-running Redfern Inquiry into human tissue analysis in the UK’s nuclear facilities.

The Bristol firm was first instructed when the inquiry began in 2007. It concluded earlier this week with the publication of a report which said that the work undertaken by the authority in relation to the testing of body parts taken from dead workers at the Sellafield nuclear power plant was both lawful and ethical.

Case partner Michael Barlow in the firm’s disputes, environment and planning group led the Burges Salmon team, while commercial disputes partner Chris Jackson conducted the advocacy.

“From our client’s point of view it was a very good outcome,” said Barlow. “We were pretty confident it would be seen as lawful but we didn’t know if they’d go beyond that.”

The inquiry was ordered in 2007 after it emerged that tissue was taken from 65 workers at Sellafield between 1962 and 1992. The scope of the investigation was widended to include cases dating back to 1955.

The inquiry concluded that families’ views were not always obtained for removing the tissue, as was necessary under the law.

The Government has apologised to the relatives of those involved.