Sir Anthony Hart, the retired judge who chaired the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, has died.
Sir Anthony was a respected barrister and judge for a number of years before he was appointed to chair the HIA in 2012.
The inquiry was set up to examine allegations of abuse and mistreatment at 22 institutions between 1922 and 1995.
Sir Anthony served as the Recorder of Derry Crown Court in the late 1980’s and was subsequently appointed the Recorder of Belfast.
In 2005 he was promoted to High Court judge.
The Head of the Civil Service David Sterling has spoken of his sadness at the death of the retired judge.
He said: “Sir Anthony was a hugely respected figure in Northern Ireland, a man of great integrity. He enjoyed a long and distinguished legal career and had a reputation as someone unflinching in his pursuit of the truth and scrupulous in his analysis of evidence.
“It was those characteristics that saw him appointed in 2012 by the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister as chair of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry.”
Mr Sterling said Sir Anthony is owed a huge debt of gratitude for his work on the Inquiry.
“I met Sir Anthony recently in connection with his work on the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry and I had planned to meet him again. We owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his work as chair of the Inquiry and his commitment to helping the victims of historical institutional abuse.
“His passing will be a great shock for everyone associated with the Inquiry and I pass on my sympathies to his family.”