Delays by a religious congregation in submitting evidence to the UK's largest ever public inquiry into institutional child abuse have caused considerable difficulties, a lawyer said.
Material given by the Catholic Sisters of Nazareth order of nuns was not properly ordered and was still being received up to last week, despite hearings being planned for many months, Christine Smith QC for the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry said.
The treatment of children in church-run residential homes will be a key concern of the investigation being held in Banbridge, Co Down. It is chaired by retired judge Sir Anthony Hart.
Ms Smith said: "This less than whole-hearted and rapid response on the part of the congregation has caused considerable difficulties to the work of the inquiry.
"The congregation is not the only body whose approach has produced problems. We do appreciate that this is not always avoidable but we hoped that such late delivery could have been avoided, given the difficulties which it causes for the inquiry."
Nazareth House Children's Home and St Joseph's Home, Termonbacca, were run by the Sisters of Nazareth in Londonderry. Those allegedly abused there will give evidence later this week.
The order has already issued a public apology.