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Hillsborough inquest: Birnberg Peirce and other firms take home £63m as government foots legal bill

The Home Office has spent £63.6m on the legal costs for the families of the 96 victims of the 1989 Hillsborough Football Stadium disaster, with London human rights firm Birnberg Peirce and Partners taking the lion’s share of fees.

Documents released by the government showed a breakdown of fees of lawyers representing the victims’ families between December 2012 and June 2016. Birnberg received the largest sum of £34.2m for representing 74 families.

Liverpool and Manchester firm Broudie Jackson Canter was paid £19.8m for representing 20 families since 2013. Leeds-based Harrison Bundy received £2.87m for representing three families.

Human rights firm Bindmans, which represented one family, was paid £2.85m. Four others– Butcher & Barlow, Merrill Corp, DTI Global and EAD Solicitors – received the remaining £3.6m.

The total legal cost of the inquests into the tragedy is thought to have topped £100m, according to The Times.

These costs include £20m paid by the Home Office to cover costs for South Yorkshire Police Force on its legal representation of its former chief constable and eight former officers and an estimated £20m to the cost of running the two-year inquest.

After hearing two years of evidence, jurors found former Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield had been ‘responsible for manslaughter by gross negligence due to a breach of his duty of care’ when the inquest closed in April this year.

Binberg’s nine-lawyer team at the inquest was led by Marcia Willis Stewart, Mishka Nelson and Rory Hearty. The group were led by a team of 24 barristers, including Michael Mansfield QC of Mansfield Chambers and Garden Court Chambers’ Peter Wilcock QC.

Six lawyers acted as counsel to the inquest, led by One Crown Office Row’s Christina Lambert and 4 New Square’s Jonathan Hough. Fieldfisher partner Tim Suter acted as solicitor to the inquest.