KRW LAW LLP RESPONSE TO CONFIRMATION TO THE ALLOCATION OF FUNDS TO RESOURCE A LEGACY INQUEST UNIT AS PROPOSED BY THE LORD CHIEF JUSTICE IN 2016
We welcome today’s announcement by the DOJ to adequately resource an independent Legacy Inquest Unit to discharge the Government’s international legal obligations in respect of legacy inquests.
Today’s announcement is long overdue and is a response to repeated judicial pronouncements by both local and international courts, which have condemned the British Government for its failure to convene these inquests and to adequately resource the Court Service to do so.
The inception of an independent Legacy Inquest Unit is a welcome step and will afford many families who have campaigned for years the opportunity to truth recovery and access to justice. Families who have waited, in some cases for over 40 years, will now be able to participate in an independent process, with access to disclosure and the ability to compel and cross examine witnesses in a public forum.
The Lord Chief Justice has previously observed that the failure to deal with legacy inquests has “cast a long shadow over the entire justice system” but that all inquests into controversial killings could be completed within five years if the Government provides enough resources.
Today’s announcement affords this moral duty on society to convene and conclude these inquests the opportunity to do so, in a reasonable and responsible time frame. There now needs to be an honest and accurate assessment of the current state of disclosure in these cases and how the schedule of works will progress.
As lawyers who have the privilege to represent many families who have waited with dignity for their day in court, we will be ready to work as diligently as possible to ensure that the truth is realised.