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.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
The inquiry is funded through the Cabinet Office. The inquiry will publish details of its expenditure on a regular basis on the website.
Now the Terms of Reference have been set, the Inquiry is:
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.
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.
The Inquiry hearings will be held at Holborn Bars, 138-142 Holborn, London EC1N 2NQ. The venue has been selected because of its central location, good transport links to the Latimer Road area and suitable disability provisions. It is large and well-provisioned enough for the operation of the Inquiry and the accommodation of a reasonable number of those wishing to attend the hearings. In addition to the hearing venue, the Inquiry will ensure its proceedings are widely accessible by streaming them online and providing a venue within the Borough where residents and survivors can come together to watch proceedings.
Hearings will be live-streamed and available to watch from this website and transcripts and videos are published following each hearing.
Under Rule 5 of the Inquiry Rules 2006 core participants can include individuals, organisations or entities 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:
Applications were requested by Friday 8 September 2017. If you still wish to apply then please contact: [email protected]
The Chairman is willing to grant core participant status to:
The Inquiry Chairman will consider applications for core participant status assessed against the criteria below:
The Inquiry will write to applicants or their legal representative confirming if they have been designated as a core participant. The Inquiry will liaise with CPs through legal representatives, or direct where representation is not in place, with details of how they can participate.
Not being awarded core participant status does not preclude an individual or organisation from participating in the Inquiry as a witness or attending hearings in person as a member of the public.
Anyone designated as a core participant is entitled to appoint a legal representative if they wish. Whether the Inquiry will fund legal costs and, if so, to what extent, is a separate issue (see FAQ on funding for those affected by the fire).
A witness is someone who has evidence relating to the matters being investigated by the Inquiry, as set out in the Terms of Reference. This could be as a witness to an event or through the records they hold, such as videos, photographs or documentation. Witnesses may be called to give evidence in the form of a written or oral statement and may also be asked to appear at an Inquiry hearing.
An individual or organisation can be both a core participant and a witness – the two roles are not mutually exclusive.
The Inquiry team will identify and call witnesses, who will be contacted in due course.
The Inquiry encourages anyone who holds relevant information or documents to provide them to the Inquiry. Information should be provided in the form of a written statement. Further information about the provision of documents can be found in the protocol for the receipt and handling of documents.
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 Chairman will take into account the circumstances of the applicant and awards will generally not be made to 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.
At the opening of the Inquiry, the Chairman outlined the two Phases of the Inquiry.
Due to the urgent public safety issues to be examined by the Inquiry and the Chairman’s obligation to produce an interim report as quickly as possible, Phase 1 will focus on the factual narrative of the events of the night of 14 June 2017. This Phase will not examine the reasons why things happened as they did or what should have happened, nor will it assess any arrangements, decisions, regulations or policies. Phase 1 is a purely fact-finding phase.
This means that the focus of Phase 1 will be the events of the night of 14 June 2017 and, in particular:
Phase 1 will also examine what the emergency services did by way of response, and when. The question of why they did what they did, and the adequacy of the emergency services’ response, including the appropriateness of the “stay put” policy, and the lessons to be learned, will be considered in Phase 2.
Phase 2 will address the remainder of the issues identified in the List of Issues which was published on the Inquiry’s website on 14 September 2017.
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.
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.
As Chairman of the Inquiry Sir Martin acts in an independent capacity.