Date published: 16th March 2023

The former Bishop of Liverpool, Right Reverend James Jones, has held a series of meetings with Hillsborough families to update them on how his report recommendations are being implemented by the government.

In the five years since the then Bishop of Liverpool, delivered his review to the government - 'The patronising disposition of unaccountable power’ A report to ensure the pain and suffering of the Hillsborough families is not repeated – only two of his 25 recommendations have been implemented. This is a position the former Bishop has described as ‘intolerable’.

An independent pathology review of the issues identified from the initial pathology reports following the Hillsborough disaster was announced by the Home Office last year. The families learnt of its existence through the media.

Last month, the Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab MP, wrote to the families of Hillsborough victims and survivors announcing the creation of an Independent Public Advocate. However, this was criticised by Hillsborough Law Now as not going far enough.

In a series of meetings with families in Liverpool this week, hosted at our Broudie Jackson Canter head office in Liverpool, the former Bishop pledged his support for a ‘Hillsborough Law’ – a statutory duty of candour requiring public bodies to be truthful and to cooperate with all public inquiries – to be implemented.

He also introduced families to forensic science expert Glenn Taylor who will be conducting the independent pathology review.

Steven Kelly, who lost his older brother Mike in the Sheffield stadium disaster, said:

This has been a 34-year fight and during that time we have lost family members who never got to hear the new inquest verdicts so were denied justice and accountability. This required change in the law to avoid our torment being repeated is surely the very least we are owed.

A true Hillsborough Law, I believe, has to be independent of government interference and carried out in consultation, every step of the way, with the people who matter: families and survivors.

Elkan Abrahamson, solicitor at Broudie Jackson Canter and director of Hillsborough Law Now, said:

We were pleased to hear from the former Bishop. It is insulting to him that his recommendations have gone largely ignored for so long.

The only solution to government cover ups is to enact a statutory duty of candour. Hillsborough Law Now has been set up to push for this and we welcome the former Bishop’s support.

Hillsborough Law is shorthand for the Public Authority (Accountability) Bill, which fell when the last General Election was announced. The Bill, would, amongst other things, create a legal duty of candour on public authorities and officials to tell the truth and proactively cooperate with official investigations and inquiries.