Justice Secretary offers to meet Hillsborough families

- Advertisement -

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has offered to meet Hillsborough families amid criticism of the Government for failing to respond to a report on their experiences.

In a letter, seen by the PA news agency, Mr Raab told families of the 97 victims of the Hillsborough disaster the Government would be establishing an Independent Public Advocate (IPA) to support those affected by major disasters.

He said: “I am sorry that the processes and systems that were meant to support victims only served to compound your pain and suffering.

“That should never have happened, and we will continue to learn the lessons from that terrible experience following the unlawful killing of 97 innocent men, women and children.”

Mr Raab said the IPA would support those injured in major incidents and families and friends of those who died, signposting them to appropriate services and advocating on their behalf to public authorities.

He added: “I am sorry it has taken so long to get to this point, and I am determined to set up the IPA as soon as possible.”

Mr Raab told families: “I would welcome your views on the policy that I am announcing and would be keen to meet you in the future if you would like to discuss it.

“I have asked my office to make the necessary arrangements to facilitate a meeting at a convenient time.”

In his 2017 report, Mr Jones said he welcomed a Government commitment to create an independent public advocate.

Mr Jones made 25 recommendations in the report but, more than five years on, there has not yet been a Government response.

Elkan Abrahamson, director of Hillsborough Law Now and a solicitor at Broudie Jackson Canter, said engagement from the current Government with Hillsborough families had been “almost non-existent”.

“Crucially, we will be reminding him of the many other recommendations which remain outstanding.

“We will be asking the Justice Secretary for the same commitment given to us by the Labour Party last year to reintroduce the Public Authority (Accountability) Bill.

“The Bill, often referred to as the Hillsborough Law, would, amongst other things, create a legal duty of candour on public authorities and officials to tell the truth and proactively cooperate with official investigations and inquiries.”

Ninety-seven football fans died as a result of a crush at a match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield on April 15, 1989.

They were unlawfully killed amid a number of police errors, an inquest jury ruled in 2016.

Mr Abrahamson added: “It is important to note that this law isn’t about Hillsborough families, arguably it’s too late for them, the damage has been done, but it could potentially have a transformative impact for every citizen caught up in future inquiries, such as the Covid-19 Inquiry.”

In his letter, Mr Raab said the Home Office intended to respond to Mr Jones’s report this spring.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.