Frequently asked questions

1. Background
2. Type of Inquiry
3. Timeline
4. Core participants and witnesses
5. Funding for those affected by the fire
6. Inquiry report
7. Sir Martin Moore-Bick

1. Background

When was the Inquiry set up?

The Prime Minister announced on 15 June 2017 that there would be a public inquiry into the fire at Grenfell Tower which had started the day before. The formal set-up date for the purposes of section 5 of the Inquiries Act 2005 was 15 August 2017.

What will the Inquiry achieve?

On 15 August 2017 the Prime Minister set the terms of reference for the Inquiry.

At the formal opening of the Inquiry on 14 September 2017, Sir Martin set out a list of issues to be investigated.

Who was consulted on the terms of reference?

Sir Martin carried out a full public consultation on the terms of reference for the Inquiry. More than 550 responses were received.

Read Sir Martin’s letter to the Prime Minister on GOV.UK [PDF, 7 pages – 518kb]

2. Type of Inquiry

What is the format of the inquiry?

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry has been established under the Inquiries Act 2005.

Other inquiries established under the 2005 Act include the Litvinenko and Baha Mousa Public Inquiries in England, the E Coli Inquiry in Wales and the ICL Inquiry held jointly between Scotland and England.

Such inquiries are essentially inquisitorial in nature and, subject to the legislative provisions, their procedure and conduct are matters for the Chairman to decide. As such, no two inquiries are the same. The Inquiry is charged with carrying out an investigation within its terms of reference.

What powers does the Inquiry have?

Under the Inquiries Act 2005 the Chairman has a wide range of powers, including the power to compel the production of documents and to summon witnesses to give evidence on oath.

Will records of hearings be available for the public?

On each day of hearings, the transcript and evidence considered will be published on the Inquiry’s website unless any contrary order or restriction notice made under section 19 of the Inquiries Act 2005 is in place. Directions, submissions and rulings will also be made available as appropriate.

How much will the inquiry cost and who is paying?

The inquiry is funded through the Cabinet Office. The inquiry will publish details of its expenditure on a regular basis on the website.

3. Timeline and hearings

What happens next?

Now the Terms of Reference have been set, the Inquiry is:

• Considering the applications for core participant status;
• Starting the major task of gathering evidence;
• Continuing to engage with the local community; and
• Planning the programming of the progress of the Inquiry.

When will the first hearings take place?

The formal opening of the Inquiry took place on 14 September 2017. Transcripts of proceedings are published on the Inquiry website. Further hearings will be announced on the website when they are set.

When will the first evidence hearings take place?

It is too early to say when the first evidence will be heard. More information will be published on the website when it’s available.

Where will the hearings be held?

Suitable venues will be identified as and when preliminary hearings are scheduled. The Inquiry’s secretariat is looking for a suitable venue for the evidential hearings.

Will the hearings be televised?

Yes. Each hearing will be live-streamed and available to watch from this website both during and after the hearing.

4. Core participants and witnesses

Who are core participants?

Under Rule 5 of the Inquiry Rules 2006 a core participant can include an individual, organisation or entity with a significant interest in an important aspect of the matters to which the Inquiry relates. A core participant will not necessarily be a core participant for the whole duration of the inquiry.

Those designated as core participants may participate in the Inquiry in a number of ways:

• Receiving in advance of hearings disclosure of evidence which the Chairman considers relevant to that core participant;
• Making an opening and closing statement at certain hearings;
• Suggesting lines of questioning to be pursued by Counsel to the Inquiry; and
• Their recognised legal representative may apply to the Chairman to ask questions of a witness.

How do I apply for core participant status?

Applications were requested by Friday 8 September 2017. These are now being considered.  If you still wish to apply then please contact: solicitor@grenfelltowerinquiry.org.uk

In particular Sir Martin will consider whether the person:

• Played, or may have played, a direct and significant role in relation to the matters to which the Inquiry relates;
• Has a significant interest in an important aspect of the matters to which the Inquiry relates; or
• May be subject to explicit or significant criticism during the Inquiry proceedings or in the report, or in any interim report.

Sir Martin is willing to grant core participant status to:

• The survivors of the fire at Grenfell Tower;
• All individuals who were residents of Grenfell Tower at the time of the fire; and
• The families of those that died or those who were injured and as a result are unable to participate in the Inquiry.

Sir Martin will give careful consideration to all other applicants having regard to the criteria set out above.

Who will be represented before the Inquiry?

Sir Martin may designate persons, bodies or organisations as core participants provided that person, body or organisation consents to be so designated.

Anyone so designated may appoint a legal representative and, where appointed, it is the role of the legal representative to assist their core participant client to assist the Inquiry.

A witness may also appoint a legal representative but does not need to be represented in order to engage with the Inquiry. Anyone giving evidence – whether written or oral – to the Inquiry may seek the assistance of the Inquiry team, or they may seek the assistance of a lawyer of their choosing, or they may seek no assistance at all.

Appointment of a legal representative does not give an automatic right for any legal expenses incurred to be paid for from the public purse.

Members, or former members, of large organisations, will be expected to be provided with any legal assistance considered appropriate by that organisation.

Will legal costs be available for residents, survivors and families of the victims of the fire?

Yes, provided that Sir Martin decides that they are eligible for an award in respect of legal representation.

Under section 40 (3) of the Inquiries Act 2005 a person is eligible to be considered for an award only if he or she is:

a. a person attending the Inquiry to give evidence or to produce any document or other thing; or

b. a person who, in the opinion of the Chairman, has such a particular interest in the proceedings or outcome of the Inquiry as to justify such an award.

5. Funding for those affected by the fire

Who is eligible for legal representation at public expense?

On 16 June the Prime Minister announced that victims and their families will receive state funding for legal representation at the Inquiry.

The Prime Minister’s Letter of Determination, released on 22 August, has clarified this, stating that any party falling into the following three categories will automatically be granted funding upon their involvement in the Inquiry, whether as a core participant or witness.

(a) The families of the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy;
(b) The survivors of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and their families;
(c) Local residents affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

NB: involvement as a core participant or witness will ultimately be a decision for the Chair.

Funding at public expense may also be available to other core participants or witnesses. In these cases, the Chair will take into account the circumstances of the applicant and awards will generally not be made for those who otherwise would have the means to access representation, e.g. through membership of a professional body.

The Legal Funding Protocol provides more information on eligibility for legal representation at public expense.

What does the funding cover?

The Protocol also lists the activities that are covered by public funding which are chargeable by those acting on behalf of eligible parties. It also outlines the maximum number of hours that a legal team can charge per week, as well as a cap on the hourly fees.

6. Inquiry report

When will the Inquiry report be published?

It is too early to say. Sir Martin has indicated to the Prime Minister that he would like to produce an interim report by Easter 2018 but this is dependent on the progress of other related investigations.

More information will be provided on the website as soon as possible.

7. Sir Martin Moore-Bick

Why was Sir Martin Moore-Bick appointed to lead the inquiry?

The Prime Minister announced the appointment of Sir Martin Moore-Bick to head the Public Inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire on 29 June 2017.

The Lord Chancellor had asked the Lord Chief Justice for the name of a judge who, in his view, would be best suited to the task and available to start work immediately. The Lord Chief Justice recommended Sir Martin Moore-Bick, a former Court of Appeal judge, and the Prime Minister accepted the Lord Chief Justice’s recommendation.

What is the Chairman’s role?

The Chairman is responsible for discharging the inquiry’s terms of reference and he decides its procedures, subject to a statutory duty to act fairly. The Chairman supervises the running of the inquiry and will write the report at its conclusion, making findings of fact and recommendations for the future.

The Chairman cannot make any findings of civil or criminal liability, nor can he award any compensation.

To whom is the Chairman accountable?

As Chairman of the Inquiry Sir Martin acts in an independent capacity.

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