'Hillsborough Law': bereaved families let down again

Posted on: 8 December 2023 by Professor Lynn Sudbury-Riley in Research

'Hillsborough Law': bereaved families let down again
Hillsborough memorial at Anfield stadium in Liverpool.

As an active supporter of the Hillsborough Law Now Campaign, Professor Lynn Sudbury-Riley comments on the Government's rejection to fully commit to the 'Hillsborough Law' and how this decision will benefit those who fail to tell the truth at public inquiries.

Let Down Again. That is the best way I can describe the Government’s rejection this week of the Public Authority Accountability Bill, known colloquially as the ‘Hillsborough Law’.

The bill, introduced by Andy Burnham in 2017 and now led by Ian Byrne MP, called for a legal ‘duty of candour’ on public authorities, officials and public servants to tell the truth at official investigations and inquiries.

What is the 'Hillsborough Law'

The Public Advocate and Accountability Bill, known colloquially as The Hillsborough Law, seeks to create a new legal duty of candour (a general duty to be open and transparent with people when things have gone wrong) on public authorities.

The bill also aims to ensure victims of disasters or state-related deaths are entitled to parity of legal representation during inquests and inquiries.

This means bereaved families could get legal aid, just as public money is used to support King's Counsels, when representing the State.  

Unbelievably, unlike in a court where witnesses who fail to tell truth can be held accountable, there is no penalty for those who are not truthful at inquiries.

In a nutshell, this means that in the aftermath of a disaster, officials can cover things up and get away with it.

Working originally with the bereaved families from the Hillsborough tragedy, who endured decades of cover-ups, the Hillsborough Law Now Coalition is a group of people who want justice.

Members include COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, Grenfell United, The Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests, LAB BRATS International -representing hundreds of thousands of people who are still directly affected by the atomic and nuclear testing program- and those impacted by contaminated blood, among others.

Justice. Such a simple word and so hard to attain for so many people.

Read more about the Hillsborough Law Now Campaign


Lynn Sudbury-Riley

Professor Lynn Sudbury-Riley

Chair in Marketing and Director of Education of the Marketing Subject Group

Lynn's research assessing the lived experiences of COVID-19 bereaved relatives has supported the current public inquiry and has also been used as part of the Hillsborough Law Now Campaign, due to the similarities in the grieving processes experienced by both groups.