High court to be asked to quash original accidental death verdicts after 96 football fans died at Hillsborough in 1989
The high court is being asked to quash the original accidental death inquest verdicts returned after 96 Liverpool football fans died in the crush at Hillsborough 23 years ago.
An application by the attorney general, Dominic Grieve, the government’s chief law officer, will be considered by the lord chief justice, Lord Judge, and two other judges.
Some of the families of victims of the 1989 tragedy, who have campaigned to have the verdicts overturned, are due to attend the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London.
An application on behalf of some relatives was made requesting a videolink to a courtroom in Liverpool. Lord Judge agreed to their request and there will be a live videolink between the Royal Courts of Justice and a courtroom at Liverpool civil and family courts.
Grieve’s legal move comes after a damning report into the disaster laid bare a coverup that attempted to shift the blame for the tragedy on to its victims.
He announced in October he would make an application to the high court for fresh inquests after beginning a review of the evidence.
The Liverpool supporters died at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium on 15 April 1989, where their team were to meet Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission announced on 12 December that it had begun consulting families on its provisional terms of reference for its investigation into the aftermath of the tragedy.
Steve Rotheram, the Liverpool Walton MP and one of a number of MPs planning to attend the proceedings, said in a statement: “The high court hearing is the day that the families have fought almost a quarter of a century for.
“The opportunity to quash the original inquest verdicts of accidental death seemed like an impossible task for 23 years. It is the moment they have waited over two decades for.
“My hope is that the overwhelming evidence that was uncovered in the Hillsborough Independent Panel report will be enough to emphatically prove that Hillsborough was not an accident.
“The wheels of justice turn slowly in Britain but they are beginning to gather momentum. This is just the beginning of a process that will see one of the greatest injustices in the last century put right and those really responsible for Hillsborough held to account.”
The families may finally get the chance “to pick up the death certificates for their loved ones with an appropriate cause of death and move a little closer to achieving the ultimate goal of justice for the 96”, he added.