Public inquiries

Public inquiry expert representation

When there’s a public inquiry, it’s important that those with a recognised interest are represented by legal experts who specialise in this area to give them a voice and ensure they receive the answers they need and deserve. Slater and Gordon are specialists in this field and have represented clients in some of the most high profile inquiries in recent years.

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Public inquiry experts

Slater and Gordon's public inquiries team are experts when it comes to public inquiries and have represented the public at some of the most high profile public inquiries in recent years.

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Public inquiries

Public inquiry experts

Our public inquiries legal team have a large amount of expertise in providing representation at public inquiries and have worked on some of the most high profile in recent years.

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What is a public inquiry?

If an event has caused a public concern, such as a major disaster, accident or event which usually involves a significant loss of life, the Government can set up a public inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 to investigate exactly what happened, why did it happen, who is to blame and understand what must be done to prevent it happening again.

Public inquiries are usually chaired by a serving or retired judge and the evidence presented will be in document form and oral testimony.

Following a public inquiry, a report will be produced to identify all the key findings and in most cases suggest recommendations. This will be presented to the Government to implement change.

Why would you need a public inquiry lawyer?

Those who’ve been affected by the event being investigated should seek to become a Core Participant, and in doing so, would have the right to appoint a lawyer to represent their interests. It can be an extremely distressing and emotional time for those affected and public inquiries are usually high profile and can attract a lot of media attention.

It can be a daunting process for anyone and especially for those who have to provide oral evidence. There’s also a lot of information to take in at once and a lot of aspects of an inquiry can be quite technical and legal, and often seem alien and difficult to understand.

A lawyer can provide you with a full explanation of the proceedings, ensure that all your concerns are addressed, and provide you with the support you need.

Often people believe that if they have legal representation, it will dilute their involvement. This is not the case. Instead it enhances your ability to get involved and understand it thoroughly.

Public inquiries can be incredibly complex and fast moving with a lot of evidence to be considered. It’s extremely important in order to get proper representation, that you choose a lawyer who specialises in public inquiries. Your lawyer must understand the process fully to ensure you’re provided with the absolute best representation possible.

Why choose Slater and Gordon's public inquiry lawyers?

One of the main driving factors of any inquiry is to learn lessons, so our involvement has two parts. The first is to ensure that we provide you with the best possible representation through the proceedings so you understand what happened to your loved ones and why. The second is, after finding out what worked and what didn’t work, we look at what can be implemented in the future, with any of the organisations identified as having an involvement, to prevent anything like that happening again.

From the moment we’re instructed to represent you, we’ll set up a meeting to take your instructions to ensure we fully understand what you know, and what you’re trying to achieve. This will drive how we approach the inquiry on your behalf as everyone’s opinions will be different on how they feel, and who they’re angry at.

It can sometimes be a concern for families that need public inquiry representation that if a lawyer is representing a number of families, they’ll be grouped together and the response will be generic across all the families being represented. It’s extremely important to note that although Slater and Gordon may represent several families at any one inquiry, we have the

resources and the skills within our specialist team to ensure that every family is represented individually. We take all instructions individually, and ensure that we address every concern, even where there are differences in opinion.

We’re also experts when it comes to dealing with the media in high profile cases. Slater and Gordon’s specialist team has represented the public in a number of public inquiries and some of the most high profile in recent years.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)

IICSA is the public inquiry which was established in the wake of some serious, historical, high profile cases of child sexual abuse as there were some significant concerns that some organisations were failing in their duty to protection children.

Richard Scorer, Head of Abuse Law and Kim Harrison, Specialist Abuse Lawyer, represent a large number of clients in a significant number of high profile cases of child sexual abuse which have been part of IICSA and have therefore had more involvement representing victims in IICSA than any other lawyers.

They have a significant amount of knowledge and expertise in abuse law and public inquiries, makes them unrivalled specialists to act for core participants in any public inquiry.

Read all about IICSA and the involvement of Richard and Kim here.

Grenfell Tower Inquiry

On 14 June 2017 Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey residential building in North Kensington was subjected to a horrific fire in which 72 people were killed.

On 14 September 2017 the Grenfell Tower Inquiry began to investigate how the fire had been caused and how it led to so many tragic deaths.

Phase 1 of the inquiry, which focused on the emergency response, has already taken place and the report can be found here. Phase 2 is currently due to begin in July 2020.

Slater and Gordon represent a number of the victims families in their quest for answers, justice and change.

Read all about the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and the involvement of Slater and Gordon here.

Manchester Arena Inquiry

On 22 May 2017, there were 22 people killed and several hundred injured when an Islamist extremist suicide bomber detonated a homemade bomb at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in Manchester City Centre. The majority of the victims were children.

Initially, an inquest was opened to investigate the deaths of the 22 victims but on 22 October 2019, the Home Secretary announced that the investigation would continue as a public inquiry, following a request by the Coroner who didn’t believe an adequate investigation could be carried out within the inquests’ framework.

We’ve developed an exceptional reputation for the way in which we’ve been representing survivors and bereaved families and as a result, we’re now representing others who transferred to us from other law firms.

The Manchester Arena Inquiry is due to begin in September 2020.

Read about the Manchester Arena Inquiry, our role and what we expect in the coming months.

How much does legal representation cost at a public inquiry?

When deciding on whether to seek legal representation at a public inquiry, it’s understandable that you may be concerned about the cost and any financial implications. Many people believe that a public inquiry is funded in the same way an inquest is funded. However, this is not the case. (See ‘What’s the difference between an inquest and an inquiry?’.)

Funding for legal representation at an inquiry is different for each inquiry. If you’re granted status to join an inquiry, in the majority of cases, legal provisions are fully funded by the inquiry. If you believe you should be recognised as a Core Participant to an inquiry, please contact us and we’ll talk you through how your representation will be funded.

There’s a public inquiry which affects me and I believe I should be involved. What do I do?

If a public inquiry has been announced which affects you and you believe you should be recognised as a Core Participant, simply contact us. One of our public inquiry experts will provide you with all the advice you need. You don’t to have to worry about how you get granted status to join the inquiry, we can do that on your behalf.

We’ll provide you with all the advice and support you need, so don’t hesitate to speak to one of our specialists by emailing PublicInquiry@slatergordon.co.uk.

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