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Public Inquiry welcomed by HJA Civil Liberties team

Jocelyn Cockburn and Susie Labinjoh leading human rights lawyers have welcomed the establishment of the independent judicial public inquiry to run in tandem with the criminal investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire.

“Serious questions must be answered about how and why this disaster happened and who is responsible for so many deaths and injuries. The interests of the bereaved families, survivors and the public at large are best served by a judicial public inquiry rather than an inquest.” said Jocelyn Cockburn

A public inquiry allows broader discretion, it has both greater powers and resources to address all the relevant issues. Those issues will include recommendations on prevention of further deaths in similar circumstances.

The terms of reference of an inquiry can be designed to identify most urgent steps that need to be taken in relation to fire safety standards for other similar tower blocks and buildings.

At a public inquiry, families and survivors as well as other representatives from the local community, including the Grenfell Action Group should be entitled to recognition as central participants. All should have the benefit of public funding for legal representation and resources that are generally more generous than those available for families at an inquest.

Only the families of the deceased may be entitled to recognition as properly interested persons at an inquest, and even then they are not guaranteed full legal representation or funding.

“The interests of victims must not be sidelined in any way. Victims and the community must be allowed to play a major role in establishing the framework alongside their lawyers. Finally the public inquiry must start soon and report as rapidly as possible”

Susie went onto say “It should be remembered that an inquest can still follow the inquiry if it fails to deal with all points of relevance as has happened in other disasters”.

Hodge Jones & Allen have represented victims of tragic incidents including Hillsborough, New Cross and Kings Cross Fires and Kerrin Point.

Ends

For further information, please contact:
Kerry Jack at Black Letter Communications
kerry.jack@blacklettercommunications.co.uk,
020 3567 1208

Notes for Editors

Hodge Jones and Allen

  • Hodge Jones and Allen is one of the UK’s most progressive law firms, renowned for doing things differently and fighting injustice. Its managing partner is Patrick Allen, recently awarded a lifetime achievement award by Solicitors Journal.
  • For 40 years’ the firm has been at the centre of many of the UK’s landmark legal cases that have changed the lives and rights of many people.
  • The firm’s team of specialists have been operating across: Personal Injury, Medical Negligence, Industrial Disease, Civil Liberties, Criminal Defence, Court of Protection, Dispute Resolution, Employment, Family Law, Military Claims, Serious Fraud, Social Housing, Wills & Probate and Property Disputes.
  • In 2016, the firm launched Hearing their voices – a campaign to raise awareness and build conversations around the issues and the injustices we might all face.