Concern That Inquiry Will Be Missing Crucial Eye-Witness Evidence If Survivors Not Formally Involved
Survivors of the Manchester Arena bombing are taking legal action after they were blocked from being formally involved in the Public Inquiry which will examine the tragedy in detail.
The specialist Public Law and Human Rights team at Irwin Mitchell has been instructed by more than 40 people seriously injured in the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing.
The law firm has now issued an application to the High Court for a Judicial Review of a decision by the Chairman of the Manchester Arena Inquiry Sir John Saunders to refuse an application of the survivors to be formally involved by denying them ‘core participant’ status.
Home Secretary Priti Patel last year announced a public inquiry into the atrocity and said: “It is vital that those who survived or lost loved ones in the Manchester Arena attack get the answers that they need and that we learn the lessons, whatever they may be.”
Core participants who have been granted formal status include the relatives of those killed, Police, security services, emergency services, the Arena and the Greater Manchester Authorities. Survivors argue that fairness demands that they should also be granted this formal status to allow them to participate and help ensure lessons can be learnt.
Some of the survivors have life-long serious injuries and disabilities. Some have lost the function of some limbs. Some have severe PTSD. Many of these survivor victims were impacted by the bomb blast and were close to death.
Expert Opinion“The effect this terrible crime has had on hundreds of families can never be underestimated.
Many of our clients who were bombing victims and caught up in the devastation that night are still trying to come to terms with the life-changing physical and psychological injuries they suffered.
While it’s vital that the families who lost loved ones remain at the heart of the inquiry, our clients believed their first-hand accounts of the security measures that were in place on the night and the response to the attack, would be key to the most thorough inquiry being held.
The survivor victim families we represent were very disappointed with the decision not to allow them to formally participate in the Inquiry. As it stands they will not have the same rights and access to the inquiry as other core participants such as the police and government. They will not be able to play a core participant role in the inquiry and they believe that the investigation to learn lessons will be limited as a result.
We are bringing this judicial review in the hope that we can reverse the decision and allow the families to formally participate. They just hope that as many lessons as possible can be learned reduce the risk of other families suffering such heartbreak through a similar devastating incident occurring in the future.
We will continue to support the survivors to help them try and come to terms with how their lives have been irreversibly changed the best they can.”
Saoirse De Bont - Senior Associate Solicitor
Suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, detonated a rucksack bomb in a foyer area of the Arena after an Ariana Grande concert on May 22, 2017 - killing 22 people and injuring hundreds more.
In March his brother Hashem Abedi, 22, was found guilty of murdering 22 people following a trial at the Old Bailey. He was also found guilty of one count of attempted murder, relating to those injured, as well as conspiring to cause explosions.
The inquiry is due to be held later this year.