THE BIRMINGHAM PUB BOMBINGS 1974
KRW LAW LLP now represents nine families of the victims of the Birmingham Pub Bombings 1974. Since 2014 we have been instructed by, given advice and represented these families who now have a last opportunity to access truth, justice and accountability about the loss of their loved ones. Our clients have trusted and relied upon KRW LAW LLP to secure the resumption of the inquests. We have engaged in negotiations with the Home Office, the Ministry of Justice and the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) in order to obtain public funding on behalf of our clients so that they can fulfil their right to effectively participate in the resumed inquests into the deaths of their loved ones.
KRW LAW LLP is a law firm registered in Northern Ireland. Our clients came to us to seek advice. They maintain their position that they wish to instruct us to represent them in the resumed inquests – to protect their legitimate interests in this complex, sensitive and lengthy process. KRW LAW LLP do not have a contract for legal aid in England and Wales which is why public funding cannot, the LAA argue, be provided to our clients, despite the LAA recognition of our ability to conduct this work.
In addition KRW LAW LLP have attended with Counsel at the hearings to resume the inquests which have been held in Solihull. At no point has our representation been questioned by the Senior Coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, the Attorney General, the Law Society of England and Wales or the Interested Persons to the inquests.
Today, our clients still do not have public funded legal representation in order for us to continue our work on their behalf at the resumed inquests, despite the following statement from government:
“The issue is not so much whether the funding is through the legal aid fund or through a Hillsborough-type approach as the fact that the families should be represented if the case requires. That is the system we are trying to create.” (Hansard 26 10 2016)
On 28th November, a representative from KRW LAW LLP attended the hearing before His Honour Peter Thornton QC. We did so without Counsel and with no recognised rights of audience. We were there on behalf of those we represent and to assist the Coroner on the matter of public funding for our clients. We were not in a position to address the Coroner on the substantive matters he had invited us and the other Interested Persons to address. Nevertheless, he allowed us to speak on behalf of those we represent on the issue of public funding.
The Coroner listed intently to our submissions and whilst not be able to grant public funding stressed to our clients and the media – and those charged with decision making in government – that he supported our client’s applications for public funding and that there was a compelling case for representation and “I do wish to say I support the applications of those families who wish to participate fully in these inquests by way of legal representation.” The Coroner said he supported such funding because of the importance of the need for family participation and the gravity of the bombings, the scale of the atrocity and the complexity of the inquests”
We handed to the Coroner a letter from the West Midlands Police (WMP) and Crime Commissioner who has oversight of the WMP and represents the interests of victims. He suggested the LAA discuss the funding position with its counterpart the Northern Ireland Legal Services Agency (NILSA). As we received legal funding from the NILSA we welcome this initiative.
KRW LAW LLP welcome the support of the Coroner on behalf of our clients and will be make further representations to the LAA, the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice in order for public funding for our continued legal representation of clients to be made available to them by the date of the next inquest review hearing in February 2017, on which occasion we hope to be able to instruct Counsel and to be fully prepared for the resumed inquests.
Contact Christopher Stanley @ KRW LAW LLP (00 44 797 0519831)