Grenfell inquiry resumes

Grenfell inquiry resumes

THE INQUIRY resumed today with commemoration hearings for those who lost their lives, ahead of reports from expert witnesses focusing on the ‘factual narrative of the events’.

Recently, the inquiry issued an update for the first phase of hearings, which begin today, and revealed that Dr J. Duncan Glover of Failure Electrical LLC will be another expert witness. Initially, hearings will ‘focus on the factual narrative of the events’ of the fire last June, including ‘existing fire safety and prevention measures’ at the tower, ‘where and how the fire started’, the ‘development of the fire and smoke’, and how they ‘spread from its original seat to other parts of the building’.

Last week, it was reported that two extra panel members would be added, Prime Minister Theresa May changing her mind after ‘originally opposing’ the appointment of people with ‘the skills to examine the cultural and community reasons behind the fire’. These members will join the inquiry at the second stage, while Mrs May updated parliament on the inquiry, noting it was ‘on course’ to receive 400,000 documents, with 183,000 of 330,000 received thus far reviewed by the inquiry team.

Sources of relevant documents are still being identified, while she added that the inquiry has confirmed that ‘a significant volume’ of the documentation ‘will be disclosed’ during the first phase. In early 2018, inquiry chair Sir Martin Moore-Bick appointed three assessors to look at housing, local government and technical matters.

Two days of inquiry hearings took place at the Holborn Bars in central London, and dealt with ‘case management issues’ including proposed timetables, matters concerning witnesses and the disclosure of evidence’. Sir Martin’s inquiry is also looking to produce an initial report that would explain the ‘immediate cause and spread’ of the fire, as well as an ‘assessment of the evacuation process’. 

In January, it was revealed that the inquiry was preparing for its first evidential hearings, and had written to core participants to update them on the next steps. These include that evidential hearings were planned to start in May and ‘no later than 4 June 2018’, with the lead counsel having written to core participants to invite comment on a proposed procedural programme.

A full list of 532 core participants has been made available: 504 are ‘bereaved, survivors and local residents’, and 28 are organisations.