Law and Rights
Hillsborough Inquests underway
The April 1989 Hillsborough Disaster Inquests began today (31st March). The initial inquests were never seen as satisfactory by the families of the deceased and fresh inquests were ordered by the High Court in December 2012. The new inquests are being conducted by Lord Justice Goldring (who has been appointed Assistant Coroner for South Yorkshire East and West Yorkshire West). He is to sit with a jury of eleven. See the Hillsborough Inquests website.
The Inquests are subject to a number of warnings regarding the possibility of contempt of court - see Directions. Millions of words have been published on this tragedy including the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel (September 2012 - pdf 389 pages) and, of course, the much earlier reports of Lord Justice Taylor (later Lord Chief Justice). However, the fact remains that the jury must reach its conclusions on the basis of the evidence presented at the inquest and only that. (The word verdict is no longer used in relation to inquests).
In July 2013, considerable changes took place to the law relating to Coroners and inquests - (see Judiciary website) - as, after a considerable delay, much of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 was finally brought into force. A summary of the law may now be found in Chief Coroners Guide to the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 - (pdf - 51 pages).
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