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Call for new 'Hillsborough Law'

12 September 2016

The families of those affected by the Hillsborough disaster have submitted a draft bill to be considered by the Rt Revd James Jones, who is undertaking a review of the lessons to be learned from the Hillsborough disaster and the cover-up that followed.

The so called 'Hillsborough Law' outlines five key principles all aimed at ensuring public authorities engaging with any court proceedings, inquiries or investigations tell the truth. The law calls for all public bodies to adopt a code of ethics and would make it a criminal offence for any public servant to intentionally or recklessly fail to comply with a duty of candour.

Whether the Rt Revd Jones recommends a 'Hillsborough Law' remains to be seen. What we do know is the 'duty of candour' is already enshrined in legislation, Regulation 20 of the Health and Social Care Act 2009 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014, and so it is not inconceivable that a 'Hillsborough Law' could be enacted. Any change in legislation would have to be supported by a cultural shift in behaviour which could take many years to achieve. Is the time right to begin to set the wheels of change in motion?

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