Birmingham pub bombings: Families to meet Home Secretary for inquest funding plea

Families of victims of the Birmingham pub bombings are to meet the Home Secretary weeks after appealing for Government money to fund their legal bid for answers.

Relatives of nine of the 21 people killed in the double IRA blasts in 1974 are to sit down with Amber Rudd for a private meeting in London on September 5.

Julie Hambleton, whose sister Maxine died in the attacks, said she was "hopeful" the meeting could clear the way to public funding for their legal representation at recently-announced inquests into the deaths.

A pre-inquest review into the bombings is due to be held in October but a full inquest is not expected to get under way until next year.

Julie Hambleton Credit: PA Wire

Ms Hambleton said that, without public money to pay for solicitors and barristers at the hearings, the families would be unable to afford the legal costs to ensure they were properly represented.

The families' lawyers, at KRW Law, and legal counsel who helped to successfully make the case for fresh inquests have been acting free of charge so far.

But the relatives' solicitors have said it is not realistic to continue the arrangement, handling the complex case work involved for the inquests, particularly when all other parties' lawyers, including the police and other Government agencies, will be funded by taxpayers' money.

Credit: Dan Kitwood / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Christopher Stanley, from KRW, said he hoped the Home Secretary would have "good news" for those relatives left behind to mourn the dead, adding that it would be their last chance at getting the answers they seek.

In a landmark decision for the families' Justice4the21 campaign in June, the senior coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, Louise Hunt, ruled that fresh inquests should take place into the deadly blasts on the night of November 21, 1974.