What is the Hillsborough Law about?
The Hillsborough Law or Public Authority Accountability Bill is a piece of legislation drafted by lawyers who represented the Hillsborough families in the recent inquests.
The Bill aims to make it a legal duty for public authorities and public servants to tell the truth.
In 2018 we expect public authorities and individuals acting as public servants to be truthful and act with candour. Unfortunately, repeated examples have shown us that this is not generally the case. Instead of acting in the public interest by telling the truth, public authorities have tended to act according to narrow organisational and individual motives by trying to cover up faults and deny responsibility.
The behaviour of public authorities in the recent Hillsborough Inquests provide a stark example of institutional defensiveness and a culture of denial. Despite making fulsome apologies for their role in the disaster and cover-up in September 2012, both the South Yorkshire Police (SYP) and the South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service (SYMAS) took a very different approach in court two years later. Both organisations chose to add to the suffering of bereaved families and unnecessarily lengthen the Inquests by deflecting responsibility and failing to acknowledge their previously-admitted failures.
The Chief Constable of SYP was suspended because of the way in which he instructed his lawyers to run the SYP case-- but it was already too late. The bereaved families had already been put through another two years of further distress, following the initial, shocking, 25 year cover-up.
The families of those who died in the Hillsborough Disaster have spent 27 years fighting not only for justice for their loved ones, but so that what happened to them can never happen again. The recent Hillsborough Inquests made it all too clear that not enough has changed when it comes to public institutions acting in the public interest. The terrible Grenfell disaster and its aftermath sadly provides a further illustration that this law is as relevant today as it was in 1989.
Of course it is not only Hillsborough families that have suffered as a result of this public culture. There are sadly many examples, such as those bereaved by the Birmingham Pub bombings who waited for years for a proper investigation into the death of their loved ones. It is past time to put that right.
The ‘Hillsborough Law’/ Public Authority Accountability Bill codifies the public law duty of public authorities and public servants to tell the truth and act with candour. It applies both generally and specifically to with respect to proceedings, inquiries and investigations.
The Hillsborough Law
Public Authority Accountability Bill
To understand more about the Hillsborough Law, take a look at the draft legislation below. If you have any ideas or comments please get in touch with us and let us know how it can be improved. You can also download or print off the Bill by clicking on the buttons below.
Make sure you check out the explanatory note linked here as well, and our FAQs section to get a better understanding of the 'Hillsborough Law'. If you think that this legislation sounds like a good idea, don't forget to add your voice to the call for a Hillsborough Law-- together we can make this a reality!
Who we are:
The Hillsborough Law website was set up by lawyers who represent families bereaved by the Hillsborough disaster, but it is not affiliated with any firm or organisation. Anyone who believes in public accountability can be part of this campaign.
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