Fri, 27 Jan 2017
LEGAL AID AMENDMENTS WILL ALLOW FUNDING RESTRICTIONS TO BE REMOVED FOR THE INQUESTS:
Many residents in the City of Birmingham have a clear recollection, indelibly printed in their memories, of the fateful events in two city centre pubs one cold November night in 1974. It is almost difficult to believe that the inquisition into the deaths of the unfortunate victims of those atrocities has taken over 40 years to start, let alone conclude.
In more recent times the wider public, national and international press have become engaged with the quest to resume the inquests which began with an application to re-open the proceedings, heard last year by the Birmingham Coroner.
In November 2016, the former Chief Coroner, His Honour Judge Peter Thornton QC, endorsed the need for the families to be granted legal aid without the restrictions imposed by the Legal Aid Agency.
Those restrictions meant that lawyers based in Belfast, KRW LLP who have been acting for the families, would not have been granted legal aid, as they were not within the jurisdiction of England and Wales. This would inevitably limit the effective participation of families and their long-standing legal team, in the inquests.
On 26 January 2017 it was announced by the Ministry of Justice that the block to funding will be removed by an amendment to the legal aid regulations. This will enable KRW LAW LLP to continue to represent families of the victims, including Julie Hambleton, sister of Maxine Hambleton, who was the youngest victim to tragically lose her life in November 1974. A new application for legal aid will therefore be made and expedited by the Director of the Legal Aid Agency (LAA). The inquests are expected to be heard later this year.
Nageena Khalique QC is a member of the legal team representing family members to view her CV Click Here.