Birmingham pub bombings lawyers to push for Hillsborough-style funding

Lawyers representing the Birmingham pub bombings families are continuing to push for Hillsborough-style funding for the forthcoming inquest.

It follows an announcement made in the House of Commons that one application for funding has now been granted, and there is a possibility that a second may be.

But the applications do not cover all the families and there may be additional applications, the Commons heard.

KRW Law, which has been representing the family of victim Maxine Hambleton and several others for free so far, said:

The families are simply asking for the parity that was afforded to their friends, the Hillsborough families, and which has already been extended to the state agencies.

KRW Law
Birmingham pub bombings families Credit: ITV News Central

The Government has previously rejected a call from families for a special funding model to help them pay their legal costs at a reopened inquest.

They had asked home secretary Amber Rudd to establish a fund similar to that created for the families represented at the Hillsborough stadium disaster inquests – but the request was turned down.

Ms Rudd, however, did back an application for legal aid funding through the conventional route of the independent Legal Aid Agency.

21 people died in the 1974 blasts. Credit: ITV News

The timing of the funding decision has sparked outcry from Birmingham MPs, who point out that the inquest process is due to start within days.

Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Yardley, said the victims had been “largely forgotten” as she read their names aloud during an adjournment debate in the Commons on Wednesday.

Twenty-one people were killed and 182 injured when suspected IRA bombs exploded in two city centre pubs, The Tavern In The Town and The Mulberry Bush on November 21, 1974.

Justice minister Sir Oliver Heald said:

The Legal Aid Agency decides legal aid applications entirely independently. It isn’t for politicians to interfere in their independent decision-making.

Justice minister Sir Oliver Heald