Hillsborough report: Barrister says some are 'avoiding the problem' of legal aid for bereaved families

Hillsborough report: Barrister says some are 'avoiding the problem' of legal aid for bereaved families

A report on Hillsborough has been released

Thursday, November 2, 2017

A barrister has welcomed the latest Hillsborough report as he claims the suggestion that coroners can look after bereaved families is "avoiding the problem."

A report by Bishop James Jones on Hillsborough has called for a charter for bereaved families and for them to have the right to publicly-funded legal representation. It also states there should be a "duty of candour" for the police.

Barrister John Cooper welcomed the recommendations and told Julia Hartley-Brewer that some claim "the coroner can look after the bereaved interests" but this is not the case.

He said "the coroner can’t have conferences over the months and sometimes years leading up to the inquest to get to know the family.

"The coroner can hardly advise the families as to what legal submissions to make to him about disclosure so it's a farce when you hear" the suggestion which is "just avoiding the problem."

Cooper explained those who may have an interest in the case such as police officers or government departments are "represented by barristers and solicitors all of them, paid for by public money, but the bereaved families are not given legal aid."

He believes it's right that "bereaved families should have proper funding and proper representation either at inquiries or inquests."

Listen to the full interview above

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