Hillsborough memorial: lawyers under scrutiny
The move follows publication last week of a damning independent report into the events around the incident at which 96 football fans died -- and nearly 800 were injured -- in a crush at a 1989 FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority announced that it would investigate the ‘role and conduct of solicitors involved in legal proceedings following the Hillsborough disaster’. In a statement, Samantha Barrass, the authority’s executive director, said: ‘The issues arising from the [independent] report impact on the public’s confidence in the legal profession and we will undertake a thorough investigation of those issues.’
However, the SRA said it had not yet received any formal complaints about the conduct of solicitors involved in the matter.
Nonetheless, the authority’s decision to investigate follows media reports that the independent panel found that a lawyer acting for the families was critical and dismissive of his clients.
According to a report in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Doug Fraser, who is now a Liverpool deputy coroner, said the victims’ families had ‘wanted their 15 minutes of fame’ during the inquests. The newspaper also quotes Mr Fraser as labelling the supporters’ families as ‘hotheads’.
Mr Fraser told the newspaper that his comments were made ‘a long, long time ago’. He described the report as being ‘very detailed’ and said: ‘I won't be making a comment in fairness to all concerned.’