‘The patronising disposition of unaccountable power: A report to ensure the pain and suffering of the Hillsborough families is not repeated’ has been published. The author, Reverend James Jones, a former Bishop of Liverpool and chair of the Hillsborough Independent Panel makes a number of strong recommendations in the report on responses made by public bodies to state related deaths, and the involvement of bereaved families in these processes.

The report itself makes 25 recommendations overall but

  • A ‘Charter for Families Bereaved through Public Tragedy’ in which public bodies would commit to placing the public interest above their reputation and approach forms of public scrutiny such as inquiries and inquests with candour.

  • ‘Proper participation’ of bereaved families at inquests, including non-means tested, publicly-funded legal representation for bereaved families at inquests at which public bodies are represented; the cost of which would be borne by the government departments whose agencies are frequently represented at inquests.

  • Proportionate legal funding of public bodies meaning public bodies are not able to use public money to fund legal representation more advantageous than that which is available to families.

  • Cultural change at inquests which would ensure the process is not adversarial, but inquisitorial as intended, upheld by relevant Secretaries of State who should make clear how public bodies should approach inquests.

  • Bereaved families put at the heart of inquests, through training of coroners that includes bereaved families, and renewed guidance from the Chief Coroner.

A number of agencies were called to provide comment and input into this report and it is with hope that bereaved families are made to feel included in the process.

You can read the full report here.

Here at Farleys, our experienced Inquest team understand the distress and anguish that a death of a family member can cause. We can provide advice, assistance, and representation to ensure that you are fully supported throughout such a difficult time. It is important that your concerns surrounding the death of your family member are appropriately addressed.

If you require assistance with the inquest process but are concerned about how much it will cost to obtain such representation, you may be eligible for public funding. For legal advice regarding the death of a loved one please don’t hesitate to contact our experienced Inquest department on 0845 287 0939 or alternatively you can email us.