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The Hillsborough Independent Panel Research Project

Principal Investigator :
Professor Phil Scraton 

Project Research Staff :
Dr Janet Clark janet.clark@qub.ac.uk
Ms Gemma Ní Chaoimh g.nichaoimh@qub.ac.uk  

The Hillsborough Independent Panel began its work in February 2010 focusing on the context, circumstances and aftermath of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. Under its terms of reference this unprecedented central government initiative will prepare ‘options for establishing an archive of Hillsborough documentation’ and publish a report that will ‘illustrate how the information disclosed adds to public understanding of the tragedy and its aftermath’. The eight person Panel is committed to ‘maximum possible public disclosure’ of information held by central and local government and other public agencies relating to the disaster. It is chaired by the Right Reverend James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, and supported by a secretariat of officials drawn from across government and by a team of archivists. It operates in partnership with authorities that hold relevant papers, working in consultation with the families of the 96 men, women and children who died at Hillsborough and representatives of those who survived. 

The Panel is expected to complete its work by April 2012, culminating with the publication of its research-based report. Under the direction of Professor Phil Scraton, appointed to the Panel by the Home Secretary, the research team is based in the School of Law. The research, carried out mainly in Sheffield, London and Liverpool, includes: assisting with the establishment of the archive of documents and records; using documentary review and analysis to inform the substance of the Panel’s report; evaluating the information disclosed to the Panel, alongside that already known and in the public domain, to inform public understanding of the disaster and its aftermath. The researchers will develop and progress documentary analysis of a range of material relating to: the context, circumstances and aftermath of the disaster focusing particularly on crowd safety, policing, the emergency response and medical treatment and matters relating to the Hillsborough families; the documentary and case material established by the inquiries, investigations, inquests and legal proceedings and their aftermath; the significance of media representation and CCTV recordings.