Solicitors statement for 96 Hillsborough families

26th April 2016

We make this statement as the lawyers for the families of the 96.

It is now 27 years since the Hillsborough families found themselves thrown together by the appalling tragedy that led to the loss of their loved ones. At the outset, that (and support for Liverpool FC) was probably all they had in common.  The intervening years have brought much greater commonality: the shock and dismay at the way they were treated in the aftermath; anger at the cover up which started immediately following the disaster; frustration and disbelief at the deficiencies of both the legal and political processes which failed to deliver justice, and, above all, a constant and enduring tenacity and dedication to exposing the truth which has, despite all attempts to derail the process, stood firm over the decades.

The jury's conclusions completely vindicate the families' long fight for justice. It is therefore all the more shameful that, rather than focussing on the search for truth and despite having made public apologies, the approach to the inquests taken by South Yorkshire police and the Yorkshire ambulance service was to fight tooth and nail to avoid adverse findings by the jury; this turned the Inquests into an adversarial battle that probably doubled the length of time it might otherwise have done.

Notwithstanding the difficulties along the way, the conclusion of the renewed inquests does bring both significant progress on the journey to expose the truth and, we hope, some degree of comfort and sense of closure to the bereaved. There is, however, still a long road to travel; the recent investigations have already taken 3 years and we therefore now urge the authorities to conduct rigorous and speedy investigations which will lead to criminal and disciplinary proceedings and to the attribution of final and full accountability.

We are humbled and inspired by the commitment of the families with whom we have had the privilege to work. Each have their own stories, but the common thread that runs throughout is their unremitting, unwavering dedication to achieving justice for the 96.