**** BMELAWYERS4GRENFELL FILE URGENT APPLICATION FOR PERMISSION TO APPLY FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW OF GRENFELL FIRE INQUIRY ****
London, 12th September 2017: BMELawyers4Grenfell yesterday filed an urgent application for Judicial Review of the Grenfell Fire Inquiry, after expressing grave concerns that comprehensive justice would not be achieved for the victims and survivors of the fire and their families and local residents.
Despite numerous and repeated concerns from the survivors and families of the deceased for an expansion of the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference and the diversification of its Inquiry Team, as well as the appointment of a diverse panel to assist the Inquiry to ensure that the Inquiry is fully equipped to address issues surrounding race, austerity and issues surrounding the fire and its aftermath, Prime Minister Theresa May has failed, so far, to address their concerns, acknowledge correspondence, or maintain the promise of proper public consultation on the Inquiry’s parameters.
BMELawyers4Grenfell, an organisation comprised of some of the UK’s leading BME legal specialists, community justice groups, survivors and community members, is therefore urgently seeking Judicial Review of the failure of the PM to ensure that the Panel reflects the diverse ethnicity and faiths of the survivors and in particular to
- Request that the PM confirms whether she will appoint other members to the Inquiry panel to guarantee it has the right level of ethnic diversity and expertise in the local government, scientific, technical, social and legal contributors that led to the fire.
“The Government’s response so far to a human tragedy of such magnitude on UK soil has been inept to say the least, and has inevitably added to the trauma and distress of individuals and the wider community” said Ismet Rawat, co-founder of BMELawyers4Grenfell and President of the Association of Muslim Lawyers. She added, “The fire in the Grenfell tower block is one of the worst collective losses of life seen in UK peace time, and yet three months later, we still have survivors displaced and homeless, with countless others psychologically scarred and under-supported by local authorities. It is therefore critical that the Inquiry is established robustly. Theresa May cannot allow it to be run in the shambolic fashion of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which she announced on 7 July 2014.”
D. Peter Herbert OBE, co-founder of BMELawyers4Grenfell, said: “It is a mandatory part of the Inquiries Act 2005 that the Prime Minister, before the start of the Inquiry, states whether or not she “proposes to appoint other members to its panel”. Three months on from the fire, the Inquiry has been launched and a mandatory part of the statutory process has been ignored. The deceased and survivors deserve better. It is urgent that a statement is made with regards to the appointment, to minimalize further disruption and to ensure the Inquiry is carried out with the utmost diligence and transparency.”
Ranjit Sond, BMELawyers4Grenfell and The Society of Asian Lawyers, added: “Theresa May launched her premiership on the promise that she would ensure justice for all regardless of ethnicity, gender or religious conviction. It is important therefore, that when she makes her decision on the additional panel members she is guided by her duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.
‘This requires that she has “due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance quality of opportunity and foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.” This in particular, involves a commitment to tackling prejudice and promoting understanding. Given the context and the background of a large number of the victims, we argue that this can only be achieved with the appointment of an ethnically and religiously diverse panel, who have the relevant expertise to assist the Chair and ensure public trust and confidence in the Inquiry.”
For further information please contact:
D Peter Herbert O.B.E – Society of Black Lawyers – 07973 794 946
Ismet Rawat – Association of Muslim Lawyers – 07852 146 056
Ranjit Sond – The Society of Asian Lawyers – 07725 523 186
Zita Holbourne – Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) – 07711 861 660
Notes to Editors
BMELawyers4Grenfell are an umbrella group comprising of leading British BME lawyer and community justice groups – Society of Black Lawyers, Association of Muslim Lawyers, Society of Asian Lawyers, Blaksox, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK, Operation Black Vote (OBV)– who have been working, severally and jointly, for over 30 years in the pursuit of justice in our communities. We are joined and supported by survivors, residents, the community and volunteers.Please visit: https://www.facebook.com/BMELawyers4Grenfell for further information
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