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Government appoints head of Grenfell inquiry

29 June 2017

THE GOVERNMENT has appointed former judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick to head the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire.

Sir Moore-Bick was called to the Bar at Inner Temple in 1969, and was elected a bencher in 1992, serving as treasurer in 2015. He was appointed to the High Court in October 1995 and was assigned to the Queen's Bench Division, serving in the Commercial Court. On 7 April 2005, Moore-Bick became a Lord Justice of Appeal, and he was appointed to the Privy Council on 7 June of that year. He announced his retirement last year.
Prime Minister Theresa May revealed that The Lord Chief Justice recommended Sir Martin Moore-Bick to head the inquiry. She said: “I have accepted the Lord Chief Justice’s recommendation. I am determined that there will be justice for all the victims of this terrible tragedy and for their families who have suffered so terribly.
“The immediate priority is to establish the facts of what happened at Grenfell Tower in order to take the necessary action to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again. But beyond that immediate focus it is also important that all the wider lessons from both this catastrophe, and the inspections of other buildings around the country that followed it, are identified and learnt.”
“Before the Inquiry starts Sir Martin will consult all those with an interest, including survivors and victims’ families, about the terms of reference. Following that consultation he will make a recommendation to me. I will return to Parliament with the final terms of reference once this process has taken place. Then the Inquiry will begin its work.” 
Sir Moore-Bick described the fire as an "enormous tragedy" but has warned the inquiry may not be as wide-ranging as some quarters are calling for, he told the BBC: "I'm well aware the residents and the local people want a much broader investigation and I can fully understand why they would want that. Whether my inquiry is the right way in which to achieve that I'm more doubtful and I will give that some thought and in due course make a recommendation.
"But there may be other ways in which the desire for that investigation could be satisfied otherwise through the work that I'm going to do."
The Fire Sector Federation (FSF) has offered its assistance to the inquiry and is calling for Government to listen to the right people; those who can offer expertise from across the entire fire and built environment, enabling them to consider the whole picture and ensure fire safety is given due and proper consideration throughout the life cycle of UK building stock. FSF chair Paul Fuller said: “We are gravely concerned in particular about the whole design, specification, supply chain and construction process. 
“The system is inherently fragmented; meaning decisions about design strategies, products, techniques, certification, competency and auditing, amongst others, are made in a disjointed and often ineffective and inconsistent manner, with less regard to fire safety than should be the case.
“At the moment we see too many fire experts each day making snapshot comments without true consideration of the whole picture. The FSF is the only representative organisation that brings together all of the fire sector in one place, as well as like organisations in other sectors across the built environment and responsible authorities. 
“The Federation has made an offer to Government to assist. It is calling for Government to be proactive in helping to develop the most appropriate mix of solutions to make sure a tragedy such as Grenfell Tower can never happen again. We expect a response from Government soon.”