Northern Ireland

Major review of legacy inquests begins in September, says coroner

Mrs Justice Keegan
Mrs Justice Keegan Mrs Justice Keegan

A MAJOR review of legacy inquests will begin in September, a coroner has said.

Mrs Justice Keegan will hold preliminary hearings into each case this autumn to establish their states of readiness and consider their sequencing.

The north's Justice Department plans to release £55 million over six years to deal with 52 legacy inquests involving 93 deaths.

A Coroner's Service statement said: "The presiding coroner said she is keen to ensure that legacy inquest cases are prepared for hearing expeditiously and that disclosure issues are identified early and, through collaboration and dialogue, that reasonable and proportionate solutions are found."

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan's plan to clear a backlog involving cases which are decades-old had been delayed by political disagreement over legacy.

Sir Declan requested money from the Stormont Executive to address the backlog but it was blocked by former DUP first minister Arlene Foster.

The fresh review will follow up on work undertaken by Lord Justice Weir in February 2016.