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The fire at Grenfell Tower has brought back memories of the tower block fire at Lakanal House in Camberwell, London in 2009 in which three adults and three children died one was a 20 day old baby.

At the time the Lakanal House Fire was the UK’s worst ever tower block fire and a ‘Super Inquest’ was convened to investigate the deaths. The ‘Super Inquest’ gave the bereaved families certainty that no stone would be left unturned, and it wasn’t.

At the inquest, the jury found serious failings by Southwark Council and the London Fire Brigade and concluded that the deaths were avoidable, had safety checks taken place in the years before the fire and the ‘stay put’ advice given by the fire brigade changed on the day.

The bereaved families waited a long time to hear the jury’s verdicts and my client, whose daughter and grandchildren died on 11th floor of the tower block was to some extent consoled that lessons would be learnt by this tragic incident. The Coroner recommended a number of actions that needed to be taken by the Government to safeguard the lives of residents living in tower blocks.

Sadly, the Government did not act upon the recommendations, apart from commencing a ‘programme of simplification’ of the Approved Document B, in relation to Building Regulations. This meant that 4,000 tower blocks across the country were not retro fitted with sprinkler systems and a lax regulatory framework around fire safety assessments remained in place.

It downplayed the national importance of the recommendations made by the Coroner and adopted a laissez faire attitude towards the jury’s verdicts. This sent a clear message to the local councils that the safety of residents in tower bocks was not a Government priority and the recommendations could be ignored.

The clarity about the advice given to residents of tower blocks in case of a fire within the building was not reviewed and the recommendation that the Department of Communities and Local Government publish a consolidated national guidance in relation to the ‘stay put’ policy and its interaction with the ‘get out and stay out’ policy never took place.

The Government’s failure to safeguard the lives of those who reside in tower blocks came at a heavy toll to those who lived at Grenfell Tower. The unimaginable and unspeakable horror that many have suffered and witnessed cannot be left to the Government to investigate. The bereaved families have a right to a fair and transparent investigation into the deaths of their loved ones, whose lives were lost at the hands of the Government.

The bereaved families have a right to an inquest into the deaths of their loved ones, as took place after the Lakanal House Fire. A High Court Judge or a more senior judge can be appointed as the Coroner and as in the case of the Lakanal House Fire a ‘Super Inquest’ convened. The inquest would be held with all the bereaved families together and they would have a right to see all the evidence gathered as part of the criminal investigation.

If the Government wants to learn immediate lessons, then the jury’s narrative verdicts from the ‘Super Inquest’ into the Lakanal House Fire and the Coroner’s Rule 43 Report is the starting point

It is hoped that on reflection the Government will realise that for justice to prevail, there must be an inquest not an inquiry into the deaths of those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire. She is also director ofthe Police Action Centre.

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bailey bow uggs on sale this is why we need an inquest into what happened at Grenfell Tower