Page last updated at 20:12 GMT, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Victims' families may get legal aid for 7 July inquest

Number 30 bus at Tavistock Square
The bombers targeted three Tube trains and the Number 30 bus

The family of a victim of the 7 July London bombings has been granted legal aid for representation at the inquests, paving the way for 51 other families.

The Ministry of Justice confirmed that it has granted the one funding application made by a bereaved family.

It came as the coroner, Lady Justice Hallett, was due to begin inquest proceedings into the 2005 attacks.

She will decide whether the inquests of the bombers will be heard separately and if survivors will be represented.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "The Ministry of Justice has received one exceptional funding application, relating to the 7/7 inquests, from the LSC (Legal Services Commission).

"Ministers have granted funding in this case."

Inquest issues

But Wednesday's ruling does not apply to the families of the four suicide bombers, who as of yet have not applied for legal aid.

Clifford Tibber, from Oury Clark Solicitors which represents four bereaved families and 15 survivors, said: "I would expect all the families to be funded."

But he said he was concerned about the paperwork involved in the process which he described as "a little bit insensitive."

Sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice the coroner will also have to resolve various issues, including whether the survivors should be counted as "interested persons" entitled to be represented at the hearings.

Mr Tibber said survivors also deserved legal representation.

"Some of those I represent, for example, were not only on the train and injured, but helped people get off.

"How can it possibly be said they're not a person who is interested in these inquests?"

A longer pre-inquest review is expected to be held in April with the inquests beginning in October and lasting for three months.

Suicide bombers Mohammad Sidique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer, Hasib Hussain and Jermaine Lindsay detonated the bombs on three Tube trains and a bus during the morning rush-hour on 7 July 2005, killing 52 people and injuring more than 700.



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