Milners Solicitors secures rare public inquiry hat-trick after appointment to Grenfell Tower role

Milners Solicitors secures rare public inquiry hat-trick after appointment to Grenfell Tower role

Leeds-headquartered law firm Milners Solicitors has added the Grenfell Tower fire to its growing portfolio of public inquiries—marking a rare hat-trick for the Yorkshire legal sector.

Milners has been instructed to act on the inquiry arising from the fire that destroyed the tower in June 2017 and claimed the lives of 72 people.

This latest appointment means that the firm, which has offices in Leeds city centre, Harrogate and Pontefract, is representing clients at three current public inquiries.

It is also retained as part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and in the Infected Blood Inquiry (IBI).

Giles Ward (pictured), senior partner at Milners, said: “This is another major case for our firm, and our growing public inquiry specialism. I am delighted to play our part in this scrutiny of how the fire started, and what lessons can be learned.”

“Being involved in three high-profile national inquiries at the same time is another endorsement of the quality and experience of the Milners’ team, as well as a vote of confidence in the legal talent that exists out of London and in the regions.”

“We believe this clutch of appointments marks a first for a law firm based in the North of England.”

The day after the fire, former Prime Minister Theresa May announced there would be an inquiry into its causes. She made a statement to Parliament the following month and announced a judge-led inquiry in which “no stone will be left unturned”.

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry, which is being live streamed, is divided into two phases. The first addressed the events on the night of the fire, and the ongoing second phase, which commenced in January, is investigating the wider circumstances.

IICSA—set up in the aftermath of the Jimmy Savile scandal—is the largest independent inquiry into child sexual abuse ever witnessed in the UK. Milners is among just a handful of regional lawyers involved.

There are currently 14 investigative strands to the inquiry, which include the Roman Catholic Church; the Anglican Church; residential schools; children in the care of Lambeth Council; and Westminster.

The public hearings are expected to last until at least 2021 and the final outcome of the inquiry, which is costing around £20 million a year, will not be published any time soon.

Milners is also representing the interests of several victims and their families at the IBI into what was branded “the biggest treatment disaster in the NHS”.

They include the person credited with being among the first to lift the lid on events in the 70s and 80s, when many thousands of hemophiliacs died after receiving blood products—many from America—contaminated with HIV and Hepatitis C.

The IBI panel is tasked with examining why men, women and children in the UK were given infected blood and/or infected blood products; the impact on their families; how the authorities (including government) responded; the nature of any support provided following infection; questions of consent; and whether there was a cover-up.

The Milners team, working alongside Sam Stein QC from the Chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, has already taken its clients’ legal fight to Number 10.

It launched an appeal to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to end the postcode compensation lottery that exists, and grant victims living in England the same level of financial support already awarded to those in Scotland.

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Mark Dugdale

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