Garden Court barristers appointed to advise JUSTICE on reform of institutional responses to deaths or other serious incidents

Wednesday 7 August 2019

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The working party aims to make informed recommendations to reform institutional responses to deaths or other serious incidents where a “systemic pattern of failure” is evident. The needs and experiences of the bereaved and survivors will be central to this work and its intended outcome will be to suggest reforms that will promote public trust in the justice system. 

JUSTICE is an all-party law reform and human rights organisation working to strengthen the justice system – administrative, civil and criminal – in the United Kingdom.

The Working Party will consider:

  • timely justice: how elements of current fact-finding processes and investigation might be integrated to reduce duplication and delay;
  • transparency and responsibility: how investigations, inquiries and inquests can be better coordinated to embed best practice, promote certainty and ensure inclusion of bereaved people and survivors; and
  • fairer outcomes: how inquiry hearings can be improved with regard to procedures, evidence and effective participation.

To inform its review the Working Party will research institutional processes in other jurisdictions.

The Working Party has been formed to overcome the challenge of duplication and delay that can be found in the justice system. JUSTICE said:

"Concurrent processes across different areas of the justice system lead to duplication and delay. From the perspective of those caught up in the aftermath of the disaster – including victims, witnesses and alleged wrongdoers – the process can be agonisingly lengthy. Inquiries themselves are notoriously time-consuming: the Bloody Sunday inquiry took over 12 years to publish its conclusions; IICSA is onto its fourth Chair. The 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster has been the subject of an inquiry, an inquest, an independent non-statutory review and an independent panel.

Further, victims and their families often speak of alienation, mistreatment and whitewashing by the very bodies set up to identify the wrongs they have suffered. Their accounts suggest that inquest and inquiry processes are often highly adversarial and potentially re-traumatising."

The working party is chaired by Sir Robert Owen.

When Things Go Wrong expects to report by September 2020.

More information about the working party and a full list of the members can be viewed on the JUSTICE website

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