Bereaved families faced with inquiries and inquests would receive parity of funding so they are not ‘outgunned’ by public bodies under a proposed 'Hillsborough law’ to be debated in parliament tomorrow.
Labour MP Andy Burnham, currently campaigning to become mayor of Greater Manchester will introduce the bill under the ‘10-minute' rule allowing backbenchers to make his or her case for a new bill in a speech lasting up to 10 minutes. An opposing speech may also be made before the house decides whether or not the bill should be introduced.
Calls for new legislation followed a two-year second inquest into the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy, in which 96 football supporters died.
’Hillsborough law’ would require public authorities and officials to act at all times ‘with transparency, candour and frankness’. They would assist court proceedings, inquiries and investigations ‘where their acts or omissions are or may be relevant’.
It would be a criminal offence for public servants to cover up their actions. Bereaved families would also receive parity of funding so that they are not ‘outgunned by public bodies’, London firm Birnberg Peirce said today.
Birnberg Peirce represented 77 of the Hillsborough families in the inquests and continues to represent them in the ongoing criminal investigations.
It also represents the families of those who died at Camber Sands, a beach near Hastings, East Sussex, last summer.
Birnberg Peirce partner Marcia Willis-Stewart said a duty of candour is necessary to ensure accountability and parity of funding 'to ensure the (true) facts leading to the loss of life can be properly known’.
She added: ’The Hillsborough families were greatly assisted with the help of properly funded legal representation. Sadly, such funding is not readily available to the Camber families even though we know that that the risks to public safety were of concern.’