Grenfell update: Judge appointed for inquiry
A Retired Court of Appeal judge has been announced to lead the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire, according to reports.
According to the BBC, the government is likely to confirm the appointment of Sir Martin Moore-Bick, described as “highly respected”, later today.
Born in Wales and educated at Christ’s College, Cambridge, the 70-year-old’s career has spanned nearly five decades after being called to the Bar in 1969. As a lawyer, he specialised in commercial law which involved dealing with disputes relating to maritime and land transport of goods.
Sir Martin went on to spend more than 20 years as a judge of the Commercial Court and Court of Appeal until his retirement in 2016. A legal source who has worked with him said he was “highly respected” in the profession and “intellectually superb”.
However, leading barrister Michael Mansfield QC, who has met survivors of the fire, has said it was “unbelievable that lessons are not learned” from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which is now on its fourth chairman.
He said that inquiry “did not consult with the families and the survivors” and “the same thing seems to have happened all over again”. Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted residents will be given a say over the direction of the investigation.
And the appointment has been described by some as ‘controversial’, based on a case overseen by Sir Martin in November 2014 in which he ruled a London tenant could be rehoused 50 miles away.
His decision that Westminster City Council could rehouse single mother-of-five Titina Nzolameso in Bletchley near Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, was overturned by the Supreme Court in April 2015.
Police have said 80 people are now presumed dead after the Grenfell Tower disaster on 14 June.
They have also warned the final death toll will not be known until at least the end of the year.
The National Housing Federation has called on the Government to stop its testing of cladding and instead focus on making people safe.
Chief executive David Orr said: “These tests were the right thing to do, but the results are now conclusive: ACM cladding simply does not pass these tests and is deemed unsafe.
“Across the country, valuable resources – from specialist equipment to expert time – are being poured into a testing process of which the results are already known.
“We are calling on the Government to halt the testing on ACM cladding and shift its focus to making people safe.”
Mr Orr spoke of the testing process revealing a “systematic failure” around the development, manufacture and regulation of cladding.
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