Birmingham pub bombings: Families call for government funding for legal fees

Birmingham pub bombings: Families call for government funding for legal fees


Relatives of the Birmingham pub bombings victims have said they cannot understand why they are having to fight to get funding for their legal fees.

The pre-inquest hearing into the deaths of 21 people in attacks at two pubs in 1974 opens on Monday.

Last week marked the 42nd anniversary of the tragedy.

Julie Hambleton, whose sister Maxine was one of those killed, said their Belfast-based lawyers deserve financial support.

The Home Office rejected a request from families to pay their legal fees in September.


Ms Hambleton said a government discretionary fund that was used to help legal cases around Bloody Sunday, the Omagh bombings and the Hillsborough disaster could be used to support families.

"What people need to understand is this is a most complex and challenging case," she said.

"The government are still trying to stop us from ever getting to the truth - what is this matrix of deceit that the government are putting out there?"

Birmingham pub bombings: Families call for government funding for legal fees

Lawyers for the families have been working for free, while legal teams for the police and other Government branches have been taxpayer-funded.

West Midlands Police has already set aside ?1m to cover its legal costs.

The Government had rejected a call from the families for a special funding model similar to that used in the Hillsborough stadium disaster inquiry.

Instead, Home Secretary Amber Rudd backed the relatives making an application, under existing arrangements, through the Legal Aid Agency.

However, under rules governing the UK's separate legal jurisdictions, the families' Northern Ireland-based lawyers KRW Law would need to partner with an English law firm to secure legal aid.



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