Fresh inquests into the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings

Credit: ITV News

Fresh inquests into the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings are to get underway today amid a dispute of legal funding between the families of the victims and the Government.

One of the country's most senior coroners, Peter Thornton QC, will convene the first pre-inquest hearing into the 1974 double bombings in Birmingham, to try and establish the scope of the proceedings.

However, the hearing at the city's civil justice centre will be taking place amid a row about legal funding for lawyers of eight of the 21 victim's families.

The wreckage left at the Mulberry Bush pub Credit: PA

Relatives of some of those killed have stepped back from a threat to boycott Monday's proceedings, but their solicitors are expected to raise the funding issue with Mr Thornton at the public hearing.

Campaigners for the Justice4the21 group spear-headed a successful bid earlier this year to have the original inquests resumed.

On the night of November 21, 1974, the IRA planted two bombs which ripped through the Tavern in the Town and nearby Mulberry Bush pubs, injuring 182 others.

The botched police investigation into the terrorist atrocity led to the wrongful convictions of the Birmingham Six - one of the most infamous miscarriages of justice.

Monday's hearing is the first step in what is expected to be a lengthy inquest process.