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Attorney General issues advisory note before Hillsborough inquests start

The Attorney General asks people to take care when commenting online ahead of the Hillsborough inquest

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

AGO office
AGO building at 20 Victoria Street, London

The inquests into the deaths of the 96 people who died as a result of the events at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989 are due to begin on 31 March 2014.

The inquests will be heard by a coroner (Lord Justice Goldring) together with a jury.

Editors, publishers and social media users should note that the inquest proceedings are currently active for the purpose of the Contempt of Court Act 1981.

The Attorney General wishes to draw attention to the risk of publishing material, including online, which could create a substantial risk that the course of justice in the inquests may be seriously impeded or prejudiced, particularly as this inquest involves a jury.

This risk could arise by commentary which may prejudge issues that witnesses may give evidence about, or matters that the jury will need to consider in reaching their verdict. The inquests could also be prejudiced by publishing details of material (whatever its source) which may not form part of the evidence at the inquest.

The Attorney General’s Office will be monitoring the coverage of these proceedings.

Editors, publishers and social media users should take legal advice to ensure they are in a position to fully comply with the obligations they are subject to under the Contempt of Court Act. They are also reminded of the advisory note issued by Lord Justice Goldring on 11 February 2014.

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Hillsborough Inquests

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Published 10 March 2014