The Home Office spent more than £63m in legal costs for families of the 96 Liverpool fans who died at the Hillsborough stadium disaster. A London-based firm, and a Liverpool and Manchester-headquartered firm collected the majority of costs.

Government figures have revealed that four solicitors’ firms and two professional services firms received £63.6m during the two-year inquests – the longest in British legal history.

London firm Birnberg Peirce & Partners was the biggest recipient and was paid £34.3m, while Liverpool and Manchester firm Broudie Jackson Canter was paid £19.8m.

Four other law firms: Leeds-based Harrison Bundey (£2.8m), Bindmans, based in London (£2.6m), Liverpool’s EAD (£1.9m) and Cheshire firm Butcher & Barlow (£1.6m) and business management company Merril Corp (£230,000) legal services company DTI Global (£79,000) shared the rest of the fees.

The inquest was started after the Hillsborough independent panel highlighted new evidence relating to the 1989 tragedy. The previous inquest verdicts were thrown out and a new inquest opened in 2014.

The government committed funding to cover the legal costs for the families of those who died.

Last month the Gazette reported that lawyers for families of the victims of the tragedy had unveiled proposals for legislation that would require public officials to act in the public interest.

A draft Public Authorities Accountability Bill, dubbed Hillsborough Law, would codify the public law duty of authorities and public servants to tell the truth and act with candour.