Liverpool

Government to pay Hillsborough families' inquests costs

Families of Hillsborough victims with Labour MPs outside the High Court
Image caption The quashing of the verdicts was celebrated by families and campaigners on Wednesday

The government will pay the legal costs incurred by the families of Hillsborough disaster victims at new inquests into their deaths.

New inquests were ordered after the original accidental death verdicts were quashed at the High Court on Wednesday.

Commons leader Andrew Lansley said the government would "provide funding for bereaved families at fresh inquests".

Margaret Aspinall of the Hillsborough Family Support Group said she was "delighted" with the decision.

Ninety-six Liverpool supporters died on 15 April 1989 when a crush within two pens at the Leppings Lane terrace of Sheffield Wednesday's stadium occurred at the beginning of a FA Cup semi-final.

The original inquest verdicts angered many bereaved families who were told at the 1990 hearing that the victims were beyond saving by 15:15.

The Attorney General applied to the High Court for the verdicts to be quashed as a result of the Hillsborough Panel's report, published on 12 September.

Dominic Grieve said the panel's medical expert Dr Bill Kirkup had found that "58 either 'definitely' or 'probably' had the capacity to survive beyond the 3.15pm cut off time".

Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge ruled that it was "necessary, desirable and in the interests of justice" that a fresh inquest should be held.

Mr Lansley made the pledge after shadow Commons leader Angela Eagle said the families would "have to meet expensive legal costs to ensure they are adequately represented at the new inquests".

Several charity endeavours, including a single by The Justice Collective - which features Sir Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams, former Spice Girl Mel C and Gerry Marsden amongst others - have been launched to help the families fund legal action.

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