Families of Birmingham bombing victims to get free legal aid

Change in law set to allow relatives funding to pay costs during inquests over 1974 attacks

Firemen searching through debris in the heart of Birmingham after a bombing in which two pubs were blitzed in 1974. File photograph: PA Wire

Firemen searching through debris in the heart of Birmingham after a bombing in which two pubs were blitzed in 1974. File photograph: PA Wire

 

The families of the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings will get legal aid funding at new inquests because of proposed change in the law.

Lawyers for the families of some of those killed in the deadly 1974 double blasts had called for an “equality of arms” on funding to allow them to take a full part in the hearings.

The coroner due to hear the inquests, Peter Thornton QC, had backed an application by lawyers acting for nine of the families saying there was a “compelling case for proper legal representation”.

A spokesman for KRW Law, representing the bulk of the families, said on Thursday it would be able to apply for funding, once a proposed new amendment to the Civil Legal Aid Procedures Regulations bill was made law.

The government rejected a call for a special funding model, similar to that created for the families represented at the Hillsborough stadium disaster inquests, to help the families pay their legal costs in September.

PA