Voices of Grenfell victims must be heard in terms of their legal representation

updated on 03 July 2017

The Law Society has stressed the importance of ensuring that those who have been bereaved and injured as a result of the Grenfell Tower fire are listened to when decisions are made about who is to represent them in the resulting government inquiry.

Law Society President Robert Bourns said: “We welcome the government’s reassurance that the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire will be involved and supported during the public inquiry, and hope that the victims are equally involved in decisions about appointing their representative for the inquiry. They must be free to choose an independent public advocate who has their full confidence and who they trust to amplify their voices and views as well as to ensure that those truly and ultimately responsible are found.”

Lawyers and specialist housing advisers from homelessness charity Shelter and the Housing Law Practitioners Association are working with North Kensington Law Centre to run free drop-in advice clinics. The centre has also been raising money for the victims to help with legal support.

Amid all of this, there were revelations by members of the local campaign organisation Grenfell Action Group that well in advance of the fire they had tried to secure legal advice related to concerns about structural and maintenance issues – cuts to legal aid funding prevented them from doing so. Legal Cheek reported that a representative of the group said: “They [residents] can’t afford lawyers. They tried to get lawyers, but because of the legal aid cuts they couldn’t.”