A new report from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry reveals that since the Inquiry started its work in the aftermath of the tragic fire in 2017, the total cost has risen to £170m. The Inquiry concluded its public hearing phase in July 2022 but still incurred costs of £32m in the year to March 2023.
Just over 40 per cent of the costs of the Inquiry relate to the legal expenses of Core Participants. The list of 639 participants includes the bereaved, survivors and residents along with the Fire Brigades Union. The Chairman of the Inquiry is Sir Martin Moore-Bick, appointed by the Prime Minister, received around £220,000 in the year to March 2023, which the report explains is in line with standard rates for retired members of the judiciary. His costs along with those of the panel members who support him, and the 59 members of legal counsel amounted to £4.8m in the last year and since 2017, these costs now total £28m.
Since the start of the Inquiry, 320,000 documents have been disclosed and documents continue to be published on the Inquiry’s website despite the conclusion of the public hearings and closing statements that took place in November 2022.
In April, the Inquiry acknowledged that there is a desire for the phase 2 report to be published as soon as possible. Individual chapters are at different stages of drafting, reported the Inquiry and several stages remain to be completed along with discussions with expert witnesses about drafting recommendations. A process of Maxwellisation – writing to those who may be subject to criticism in the report to explain the basis on which that criticism is made – must also take place before the report can be published.
The Inquiry states that it hopes to complete the drafting of the report before the end of 2023, but it will not be published until 2024 and the date for publication will be determined by the Prime Minister.