THE BIRMINGHAM PUB BOMBINGS 1974: THE DECTHE BIRMINGHAM PUB BOMBINGS 1974: THE DECISON ON THE SCOPE OF THE INQUESTSISON ON THE SCOPE OF THE INQUESTS
KRW LAW LLP represent 10 families of the victims of the Birmingham Pub Bombings 1974.
Our clients have waited for 43 years for an opportunity to establish the truth concerning the death of their loved ones and to obtain the justice and accountability they have striven for despite opposition to their quest.
The decision of 1st June 2017 to resume the original inquest was described as ‘seismic’. The decision to conduct the inquests in a manner compliant with human rights standards was important as it enabled a wide interpretation regarding the scope of the inquests – including all the surrounding circumstances of the bombings.
This will be the last time an investigation can be conducted; it will be the last time for the concerns of the people of Birmingham to be allayed and for the relatives of the victims to have access to their right to truth.
Following the hearing in Birmingham last week the Coroner to the Birmingham Pub Bombings Resumed Inquest 1974 has now published his Ruling on Scope. The Ruling can be accessed at https://www.birminghaminquests1974.org.uk/.
Despite the fact that the Coroner states that ‘the issue of scope will remain open’ (para 2) and ‘these things can be kept under review’ (para 98), he is clear that regarding the Emergency Response issue, this will not be investigated as a systemic failure but only on a case by case basis. He is clear that the issue of perpetrators is not within the scope and that “For these purposes it makes no difference that these are Article 2 inquests” being reliant upon the investigations undertaken by both the WMP and the Devon and Cornwall Police (para 91).
The issue of forewarning is within scope. The issue of an agent or informant remains under investigation by the Coroner’s investigation team.
KRW LAW LLP, on behalf of the 10 families we represent, will be reading this decision on scope very closely. We would expect the law officers of the government to do so. We have given Advice to our clients and they have been clear in their Instructions to us. Whether the inquest proposed by the Coroner satisfies either the demands of the Common Law or human rights standards and can be read down in accordance with statutory provisions is a point that may require to be tested by way of litigation or by way another form of investigation, such as a statutory inquiry.
It is clear that from the point of view of our clients in their quest for truth, justice and accountability, today is a sad day and will fuel the bitterness they already have.