What would Hillsborough Law change?
Hillsborough Law is a broad coalition of families, activists, leaders, and everyday people who wish to achieve justice and is a legacy project following the Hillsborough disaster of 1989.
The purpose of the law is to create a new legal duty of candour on public authority and officials to tell the truth and proactively cooperate with official investigations and inquiries. Hillsborough Law also ensures that victims of disasters/state-related deaths are entitled to publicly funded legal assistance and representation at the same level and resources available to the public authority – essentially putting them on a level playing field.
Additionally, Hillsborough Law would bring in a number of further measures including:
- A criminal offence for failing to comply with the duty of candour;
- A public advocate to act for families of the deceased after major incidents;
- A Charter for families bereaved through public tragedy which would be binding on all public bodies;
- A requirement that evidence and findings of major inquests must be taken fully into account at any subsequent criminal trials;
- A requirement that any criminal trials following a major inquest take place in a court with relevant expertise and status, rather than a crown court.
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester and supporter of Hillsborough Law, summed up the incentive behind it as the need to:
“…to protect other families from going through what the Hillsborough families went through and from a similar miscarriage of justice. It empowers victims to secure disclosure of crucial information and prevent public authorities from lying to them or hiding the truth by making that an imprisonable offence… it creates a level legal playing field at inquests for bereaved families so that finally inquests become what they should always be – a vehicle to get to the truth.”
Given the culture of denial and the pressing need for lessons to be learned from not only Hillsborough but the array of state failings over the years, Hillsborough Law needs to be enacted now.
You can find out more information on Hillsborough Law on: https://hillsboroughlawnow.org/