Hillsborough inquests commence, 25 years after deaths

96 men, women and children died as a result of the Hillsborough disaster on 15 April 1989.  It remains the most serious tragedy in UK sporting history.  Today, Monday 31 March 2014, a quarter of a century later, inquests commence into the deaths of those 96 people.


The inquests are taking place in Warrington, before Lord Justice Goldring (the Coroner) and a jury.  They are expected to last until at least December 2014.


Why new inquests are being held

In September 2012 the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel was published.  It highlighted new evidence relating to the events of and since 15 April 1989.  Its report is available here


As a result, the Attorney General made an application to the High Court to quash the original inquests (pursuant to s. 13, Coroners Act 1988).   In December 2012 the Court quashed the original findings and ordered that new inquests must be held.  In his judgment, the Lord Chief Justice said:


This combination of circumstances…  makes inevitable the order for a new inquest. The interests of justice must be served. Within the limits of the coronial system, the facts must be investigated and reanalysed in a fresh inquest when, however distressing or unpalatable, the truth will be brought to light. In this way the families of those who died in this disaster will be vindicated and the memory of each victim will be properly respected… All the inquisitions will be quashed. There will be new inquests in each and every case.”


Representation for Bereaved Families

Doughty Street barristers act for three separate legal teams for bereaved families in these inquests.


Nick Brown, Paula Sparks and Fiona Murphy act, with others, for 74 bereaved families, instructed by Birnberg Peirce and Partners.


Henrietta Hill acts, with others, for 21 bereaved families, instructed by Broudie Jackson CanterEAD Solicitors and Butcher and Barlow LLP.


Heather Williams QC and Caoilfhionn Gallagher, instructed by Bindmans LLP, act for one bereaved family.


Further Information

  • The Inquests Team has a website, available here.  The team also has a twitter account, @Hboroinquests
  • The September 2012 report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel is available here 
  • The December 2012 judgment quashing the original inquests is available here 
  • The Attorney General’s advisory note, issued prior to the commencement of the inquests, is available here


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