SIF sets up u5m contingency fund for Hillsborough victims

The Solicitors Indemnity Fund (SIF) has set aside a u5m contingency fund in anticipation of hundreds of actions against law firms who represented spectators of the Hillsborough disaster.

According to the Manchester lawyer involved in bringing cases on behalf of 150 victims of the 1989 disaster in which 96 people died, this could be the biggest ever non-class action brought against law firms over one event.

Peter Hales, a partner at 10-partner firm, Linder Myers, confirms the actions for negligence will be brought against “many” law firms, mostly Merseyside-based ones.

His firm was involved in last year's action on behalf of a survivor who sued Peter Bromilow of Liverpool law firm, Linskills Solicitors for failing to advise him properly.

He accepted a u50,000 settlement from SIF which was put in trust for psychiatric care, having originally accepted just u3,000.

Hales says: “We were involved in the Bromilow case which caused a lot of people to make more inquiries and our involvement stemmed from there. People have heard what happened with Mr Bromilow and feel they may also have cause for complaint.”

Hales confirms his firm may not be the only one bringing similar actions.

A SIF spokeswoman says: “There may be a class action arising out of the Hillsborough disaster. It would be because the settlement a person received was less than they expected – what we call an undervalue settlement.

“We don't expect to pay out u5m. We judge each case on its merit and would not make a payment unless a solicitor is found to be liable. We are not a compensation fund.”

Details of the contingency fund emerged at last week's Law Society council meeting, but SIF chairman Peter Williamson was censured from revealing further information by SIF managing director, Elizabeth Mullins.