I am working with the Right Reverend Sir James Jones, formerly Bishop of Liverpool who led the Hillsborough Independent Panel and is the author of the report ‘The patronising disposition of unaccountable power’ setting out the experiences of how the authorities treated the victims and families of the Hillsborough Disaster. Together, we want to devise and promote a system to assure free and non-means tested legal advice and representation, where it is required by the families of deceased people who are the subject of an Inquest in which a public authority is an interested party.
There may be a criminal element with perhaps a potential for civil liability on a public authority for exacerbating or failing to alleviate risk. The death may have taken place in a mental health setting, in police or immigration custody or in prison. In other circumstances the death may have taken place where the role or responsibilities of public authorities are relevant to exploring how the death happened.
On 4 September we made a joint submission to the Justice Select Committee on this issue. The Committee is taking evidence on how well the coroner system operates and if enough progress has been made since government reforms in 2009. A copy of our submissions can be found on the following link.
We plan to continue working together on this important issue and I will post updates on my website.