The first sessions of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry will hear evidence from faith-based organisations and residential and foster care providers.

Expert witnesses, the Scottish Government and survivor groups will also give evidence at the hearings, which will begin on May 31.

The inquiry is examining historical allegations of the abuse of children in care and has been taking statements from witnesses since last spring.

It covers the period within living memory of anyone who suffered such abuse, no later than December 17, 2014.

The first phase of hearings will take place at Rosebery House in Edinburgh and is expected to last about seven weeks.

They will hear evidence of the history and governance of large care providers of residential and foster care to children in Scotland and whether there is any retrospective acknowledgement of abuse.

There will be evidence from Quarriers, Barnardo's and Aberlour Child Care Trust.

The sessions will also hear about the history and governance of faith-based organisations and whether there is any retrospective acknowledgement of abuse.

The Church of Scotland/CrossReach, the Bishops' Conference, the Good Shepherd Sisters and the Benedictines are among those who will give evidence.

The Scottish Government will give evidence on the nature, extent and development of the state's areas of responsibility for children in residential and foster care in Scotland.

The inquiry has also published an application form for "leave to appear" at the oral hearings on its website, with a deadline of April 18.

Leave to appear is the process by which people who want to actively participate in hearings request the chair's permission to do so.

Applicants must show that they have a direct or substantial interest in the scope and purpose of the hearings to be given leave to appear.

The inquiry will continue to take statements from survivors in private sessions and from a range of other witnesses, and is undertaking investigations into a large number of institutions.

All evidence gathered will be carefully considered and decisions will then be made on what evidence is to be presented at a hearing.