A barrister is a lawyer who specialises in appearing in court. As such they have the ability to represent clients in higher courts, typically regarding more serious matters. Barristers are instructed by solicitors to argue cases in front of senior judges.
“BUILDING RESEARCH ESTABLISHMENT”:
The Building Research Establishment is a private organisation which has been tasked by the government with testing and reporting on the safety and suitability of the cladding which was used on the Grenfell Tower and which is still in place on buildings across the UK, owned by both councils and private landlords.
“BUILDING SAFETY PROGRAMME”:
The Building Safety Programme has been established to identify buildings which are of concern through a checking and testing process. Through this programme, landlords and councils will work together to take immediate steps to ensure the safety of occupants and in reaching decisions on the work which needs to be carried out to ensure this. This programme is advised by the Independent Advisory Panel.
The “Chair”/”Chairman” of the Grenfell Inquiry is Sir Martin Moore-Bick, a retired senior judge.
Cladding is a material which is wrapped around the outside of a building in order to improve appearance and energy efficiency. It is generally made up of foam panels which are coated with chemicals in order to resist adverse weather.
Victims, victims’ families and relevant groups connected to the incident are referred to as “Core Participants”. Core Participants have the right to legal representation during the inquest and to ask questions of witnesses.
“COUNCIL TO THE INQUIRY”:
The chair of the inquiry is supported by a team of civil servants who carry out a number of duties to ensure the fairness and thoroughness of the inquiry. This is typically secretarial and legal assistance. The council is made up of:
“DISCRETIONARY HOUSING PAYMENTS”:
DHPs can be paid to those in receipt of housing benefits or the housing element of Universal Credits who face a shortfall in meeting their housing costs. Applications may be received from former residents who require assistance towards rent in advance, deposits and other lump sums associated with housing needs such as removal costs or the cost of temporary accommodation. Housing costs are not defined in the DHP regulations, allowing Local Authorities to be flexible in their discretion that a payment is appropriate.
Former Residents of Grenfell who have lost identity documents are to be considered a priority when assessing applications for DHPs.
Further information can be accessed here:
“INDEPENDENT ADVISORY PANEL”:
On 27 June 2017, an independent panel was established by the government to establish action which could be taken to make buildings safe after the tower fire. This panel is not connected to the public inquiry but is focused on action which could be taken immediately by the government.
An inquest is conducted by a coroner, independent of the government. The goal of an inquest is to establish the facts surrounding loss of life, not to assign fault or blame for the actions which resulted in the loss of life. Upon the conclusion of their findings, the coroner can summon a jury to return a verdict based on their findings.
A public inquiry is a legal investigation conducted by a senior judge appointed by the government. The issues to be considered by the inquiry are typically set by the government, but victims and relevant groups are consulted. Victims families’ can ask questions themselves or through lawyers but witnesses have the right to refuse to answer questions if the answers would incriminate them. An inquiry can apportion blame for the incident but typically take years to complete.
The Grenfell Tower Inquiry has been established as being independent from the Government. This means that the Government will not have any input into the issues to be considered by the Inquiry.
The Public Inquiry is separate to the Criminal Inquiry which is also ongoing. The Criminal Inquiry seeks to establish fault and bring charges against any party should there be sufficient cause found to do so.
An MP, or Member of Parliament, is a representative who has been elected to ensure the interests of the people living in the area which they represent, typically known as their “constituents”. MPs sit in the Houses of Parliament and vote to decide the actions of the UK government.
A QC (Queen’s Council) is a barrister/solicitor, who, having practised law for at least 10 years, has earned a reputation as an expert in a particular field of law. Also referred to as “Senior Council” or “Silk”.
The Red Cross are a voluntary organisation which seeks to help those who have been affected by crises in the UK and abroad. The group responds to natural disasters, conflicts, terrorist attacks and situations where humanitarian relief is necessary. They are a non-partisan, religion-neutral organisation.
A solicitor is a member of the legal profession qualified to represent clients in criminal and commercial matters. Solicitors can represent their clients in some courts but cannot argue before more senior judges. They have the right to instruct council (QCs) to represent their clients for more serious matters.
“TERMS OF REFERENCE”:
The questions which are to be considered by the inquest are referred to as the “Terms of Reference”. These are generally defined by the government but the victims and general public can put forward questions which they would like the inquest to consider. Issues raised by the public will be initially considered by the chair of the inquiry to assess whether they will form part of the inquest.
The final “Terms of Reference” will be a combination of the issues raised by the chair, panel and public.
Types of evidence which the inquiry will include, but is not limited to:
A process for submitting evidence will be established as soon as possible. Further information on this process will be found on https://www.grenfelltowerinquiry.org.uk/about/.
Members of the public can submit questions and issues to the inquiry until <4 August 2017>. This can be done through:
Post: Grenfell Tower Enquiry, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2A 2LL
“TMO (Tenant Management Organisation):
A TMO is a separate body set up to manage various services on behalf
of a social landlord (council or housing association). The services it
manages typically include day-to-day repairs, cleaning, caretaking,
rent collection etc.