published: December 2017
On 11 and 12 December the Grenfell Tower Inquiry [opened] for procedural hearings. From the experience of INQUEST, bereaved families we have worked with and lawyers representing them we recommend the following as a minimum requirement:
- The Inquiry must confirm to bereaved families that it understands one of its primary tasks is to uphold the state’s obligations to investigate under article two of the European Convention on Human Rights, as protected by the Human Rights Act.
- Appoint panel members to reflect the diverse, cultural and religious make-up of the community affected and to draw in the appropriate levels of expertise necessary to meet the needs of the Inquiry.
- Prompt, full and proper disclosure in advance of all the Inquiry processes including the hearings.
The use of pen portraits at the Hillsborough inquests placed the bereaved families at the heart of the proceedings. The Inquiry should adopt this model.
- Ensure a safe and private space when considering a venue and support throughout the duration of the Inquiry.
- Ensure an appropriate mental health response for survivors and the bereaved during the course of the Inquiry.
- The disaster and its aftermath has already traumatised individuals and the Inquiry must ensure that its processes do not further exacerbate this trauma and the impact on mental and physical health.
Lawyers should be able to question the witnesses as the need arises as well as submitting questions in advance.
Adel Chaoui, whose family members died in Grenfell Tower said:
“Bereaved families are desperate that the deaths of our loved ones are learnt from, and a tragedy like this, that should have been avoided after the Lakanal House fire, never happens again.”