Today, expert witnesses will start to present evidence to the Grenfell Tower inquiry in Holborn, London.
On 14th June 2017, Grenfell Tower in West Kensington was destroyed by a huge fire. It took about 24 hours to get the fire under control, and the outcome was devastating.
A day after the tragedy, the Prime Minister announced the inquiry would take place. 72 people were killed, many injured, and 203 households destroyed.
The chair of the inquiry will be Sir Martin Moore-Bick. Aged 71, Moore-Bick was previously an appeal judge, who faced controversy over a judgment he gave in 2014, which allowed Westminster Council to rehouse a single mother of five children 50 miles away. The decision was overruled in 2015.
The inquiry was opened on 14th September 2017, with procedural hearings completed in December 2017 and March this year. We are now at the “phase 1 evidence” stage. This began in May, with seven days of commemoration hearings, at which tributes were paid to victims of the disaster.
The commemoration hearings were followed by four days of opening statements from lawyers. You can read more about the Grenfell inquiry opening statements here.
Today marks day one of the expert witness presentations, and is expected to take around 3 days. The inquiry will then hear evidence concerning the outbreak of the fire, and the initial response of the emergency services. It is expected that the majority of July will be dedicated to “remaining firefighter evidence”, involving: search and rescue, fire brigade control room staff, and commanders who were responsible for the decisions taken that night.
There will be a break from the inquiry in August, and it will reconvene to hear evidence from BSR groups, scheduled to last 4 weeks, followed by “other” evidence. The inquiry’s expected to close in October, with expert witness evidence and closing statements.
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