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Coronavirus: Grenfell Inquiry consults on how to restart hearings

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The team running the Grenfell Tower Inquiry is consulting on how the proceedings might be able to continue, despite the ongoing coronavirus restrictions

The hearings were indefinitely suspended a month ago, shortly after the inquiry had heard from witnesses at Studio E Architects.

Before prime minister Boris Johnson’s lockdown announcement on 16 March, the inquiry, led by Martin Moore-Bick, had spent a session considering whether to continue with ‘limited attendance’, effectively barring those who were neither a witness, a directly involved lawyer nor on the panel itself from physically attending the central London hearings.

The discussion was prompted when inquiry panellist and Foster + Partners architect Thouria Istephan was taken sick with symptoms of the virus.

Now, the AJ’s sister title Construction News has reported, the panel has issued a consultation to core participants and upcoming witnesses over three future options for progressing the hearings. These are: suspend the hearings until social restrictions are lifted completely; conduct them remotely on a video-conferencing platform; or resume hearings with ’limited attendance’ when restrictions are partially lifted.

A statement from the inquiry said: ’There is a fundamental balancing exercise to be carried out, by the panel, between the need to maintain momentum and further the inquiry’s work by taking oral evidence and the need to maintain the integrity and quality of that evidence, as well as the physical and psychological wellbeing of the witnesses and other key participants.’

Those who have been sent the consultation document have until Monday (27 April) to respond.

The statement added that the team was continuing to work by analysing evidence, preparing questions for forthcoming witnesses and disclosing relevant documents to core participants.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Industry Professional

    Providing a reasonable consensus can be reached, I think it is good that the previous momentum is trying to be maintained by looking at ways of continuing the investigation. Jeffrey (an engineer) - comment made via IHS

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