A Labor government will put a new Hillsborough Law on the statute book to help prevent future injustices where there is state involvement.

The plans will be announced at the party’s annual conference starting in Liverpool this weekend.

Families of those who lost their lives in Britain’s worst sporting disaster, and survivors, have been campaigning for key changes to the legal system to prevent others going through what they experienced over decades.

Ninety-seven men, women and children died as a result of a crush at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in Sheffield on 15 April 1989.

A Hillsborough Law would introduce a statutory duty of candor on public servants during all forms of public inquiry and criminal investigation.

Labor has pledged it will introduce such a duty to provide transparency and accountability if it wins the next election.

The legislation will also put victims of disasters or state-related deaths on a level playing field with public bodies, as they are funded for lawyers via legal aid.

An independent public advocate would be appointed for bereaved families to act in their best interests, and establish a panel to review all the evidence, documentation, and data relating to a tragedy.

The new law would also require all public authorities to publish a code of ethics that promotes ethical behaviour, transparency, and candour.

labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “Labor stands unequivocally with the Hillsborough families. We’ve repeatedly called for the Hillsborough Law and making it reality would be a priority of my Labor government.”

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Keir Starmer

Sir Keir said that he spoke to family members of the victims while working as director of public prosecutions.

“Their raw pain was matched by their inspirational courage. Nobody should ever have to endure what they’ve been through,” he said.

He added: “In July this year I visited the Hillsborough memorial and met with campaigner Margaret Aspinall, whose son James was amongst the victims of the tragedy.

“For Margaret, for James, and the 96 other lives tragically lost, we will change the law to stop this happening again.”

Demands for reform were reignited earlier this year following ITV drama Anne, which tells the story of a mother’s fight for justice after her son Kevin was killed in the Hillsborough disaster.

The Hillsborough Law campaign has attracted cross-party backers, with former prime ministers Gordon Brown and Theresa May throwing their weight behind it in January.

Mrs Aspinall, whose son was 18 when he died in the tragedy, said the police cover-up after Hillsborough shows the system is corrupt, and that’s why a new law is needed.

Steve Kelly, who lost his brother Michael in the tragedy, said: “A Hillsborough Law will allow ordinary people the same opportunity for legal representation from the beginning.

“I never want to see anybody go through this ever again, especially without support from the outset.”

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Hillsborough victims: ‘Time is not a healer’

While prime minister, Mr Brown ordered the creation of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which in 2012 revealed police failings and eventually led to the quashing of the accidental death verdicts in 1991 from the first inquests.

New inquiries which concluded in 2016 found the Hillsborough victims were unlawfully killed.

In 2019 Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield was cleared of gross negligence manslaughter, while a trial of two retired police officers and a former force solicitor, who were accused of perverting the course of justice, collapsed in 2021 after a judge ruled there was no case to answer.

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