EH675 DSC_0096Phil Scraton, a Professor at Edge Hill University between 1990 and 2003, carried out research which made a key contribution to the exposure and official recognition of injustice regarding the Hillsborough disaster.

The Hillsborough Project was jointly funded by Liverpool City Council and Edge Hill, and was carried out at the University between 1990 and 2003. The project exposed anomalies in police officers’ experience at the Hillsborough disaster when compared with their evidence put before official enquiries, it also explored the extent to which official documentation was altered or suppressed. The project’s research culminated in a book being published, “Hillsborough: The Truth”, which concluded that the Hillsborough Disaster represented a serious miscarriage of justice.

Informed by Professor Scraton’s research while at Edge Hill, the Hillsborough Independent Panel was set up in 2009 with Phil appointed as a member. The work of the Panel led to a Prime Ministerial apology, the new inquests into the deaths at Hillsborough, a new police investigation, an IPCC investigation and the full disclosure of all documents relevant to the disaster held by public agencies.

The new inquest concluded on April 26 2016. The jury was satisfied that those died in the disaster were unlawfully killed and answered no to the question “Was there any behaviour on the part of football supporters which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstile.” A full list of the jury’s verdicts can be found here.

Following the inquest determinations, and the conclusion of the criminal investigations at the end of 2016/start of 2017, the Crown Prosecution Service will formally consider whether any criminal charges should be brought against any individual or corporate body based upon all the available evidence.

In recognition of the importance of his research, Andy Burnham MP honoured Phil Scraton in the Hillsborough parliamentary debate on 22 October 2012,

“Tonight, I pay particular tribute to Professor Phil Scraton. Of this I am sure: the full truth about Hillsborough would never have been known were it not for his meticulous efforts over many years, turning over stones that others had walked past. Professor Scraton has done a huge service not just to the Hillsborough families but to this country, and I hope the House will join me in acknowledging it tonight.”

“The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) recognised the impact of The Hillsborough Project, with aspects of the project assessed as having ‘very considerable impacts in terms of their reach and significance’, achieving a three-star ranking.

The Hillsborough Project contributed to Edge Hill University’s Law and Criminology research being ranked in the top 30 in the UK for its research impact in the national Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.

Professor Phil Scraton on the Hillsborough Inquest verdicts

 

Following the conclusion of the Hillsborough verdicts, Professor Phil Scraton of the Hillsborough Independent Panel has become an in-demand spokesperson.

In this article Professor Scraton writes for the Liverpool Echo about the long road to Justice.

He explains here to ITV News how his investigations uncovered that police statements had been changed.

A comprehensive report of the investigations and inquest to date, including Professor Scraton’s contributions carried out from research conducted at Edge Hill University is included here.

 

Department of Law and Criminology ranked in the UK top 30 for research impact in the 2014 REF

EH675 DSC_0096

Edge Hill University’s Law and Criminology has been ranked in the top 30 in the UK for its research impact in the national Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.

The impact of research carried out in the department was rated as internationally excellent as illustrated by the case studies. Research conducted by Professor Richard Parrish into EU Sports Policy has influenced European and UK policy making. In the other case study, the research of former Edge Hill Professor, Phil Scraton, into the Hillsborough Disaster provided evidence which eventually led to the inquiry which recognised that police statements given on the day of the disaster had been altered. Both demonstrate the very considerable impact of research conducted by the department.

The REF assesses the quality of research at universities across the UK and informs research funding allocations from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, HEFCE. Overall, the Department of Law & Criminology was ranked joint 36th in the UK on the research intensity measure, along with Durham and Liverpool.

Read more about the department’s impact case studies here.

Hillsborough: A Personal Reflection, The Right Reverend James Jones

The Right Reverend James Jones, The Bishop of Liverpool, spoke at Edge Hill University on 17 April 2013 about his role as Chair of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which, under his leadership, worked to achieve the maximum possible disclosure of all documents relating to the football disaster in 1989 that resulted in the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans.

Watch his full speech in the video below:

New inquests into Hillsborough deaths

In an interview with BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback, former Edge Hill University staff member Professor Phil Scraton speaks about his work with the Hillsborough Independent Panel and the subsequent decision to open new inquests into the deaths at Hillsborough.

Professor Scraton’s research while working at Edge Hill University led to the publication of his book Hillsborough: The Truth. Phil’s work as a member of the Hillsborough Independent Panel was informed by his book and the underpinning research, both undertaken while he was employed a the University.

Professor Phil Scraton on the Hillsborough disaster

In an interview with the Liverpool Echo, former Edge Hill University staff member Professor Phil Scraton speaks about the key individuals and events surrounding the Hillsborough disaster and the findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

The findings of the Panel were informed by Professor Scraton’s research while at Edge Hill and led to new inquests into the deaths at Hillsborough, a Prime Ministerial apology and a new police investigation into the disaster. 

“There is no way we would have had the panel if the Hillsborough Family Support Group had not followed up on the speech made by (then sports minister) Andy Burnham at the 20th anniversary service. They went down and saw successive home secretaries and they put a document together that demonstrated precisely the kind of process they envisaged, so the HFSG were the main negotiators of the panel’s existence.

They have, over a very long period of time, through hell and high water, stayed together. They have been united, despite there being always differences. They have retained their dignity and maintained a dignified silence throughout the work of the panel. I have nothing but admiration for them. I am humbled by the way in which the families and survivors, whether they are in groups or not, have handled themselves throughout this process….” Read the full article on the Liverpool Echo here.

scratonecho

The book that foretold truth of Hillsborough

In Ian Herbert’s article for the Independent, he discusses the importance of Professor Phil Scraton’s book Hillsborough, The Truth, written during Phil’s time at Edge Hill University in 1999.

“There was a dreary irony about the promotional strap attached to the 2009 version of Dr Phil Scraton’s book Hillsborough, The Truth, proclaiming it as the ’20th Anniversary Edition’, two decades on from the football stadium disaster. The Truth can be hard to get out.

It had been on sale for a decade by then, was lauded by the writer Jimmy McGovern as “dynamite, a brilliant achievement, a real page turner,” good enough to leave The Independent’s reviewer in “a fog of anger” and had exposed much of what we have just learned about one of Britain’s biggest institutional failings and cover-ups . Yet this book – whose latest edition is up alongside Bob Woodward’s works on George W Bush’s foreign policy among the finest pieces of investigative storytelling of the past decade – was still minority interest. The problem is that booksellers don’t know where to file it, Scraton says.”

Read the full article in The Independent here.

Hillsboroughind

 

Hillsborough role most important as Bishop

“My work on Hillsborough has probably been the most important I’ve carried out as the Bishop of Liverpool” said the Right Reverend James Jones who gave a moving personal reflection of his work on the tragedy at an Edge Hill University event.

The Bishop of Liverpool was invited to talk about his role as Chair of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which, under his leadership, worked to achieve the maximum possible disclosure of all documents relating to the football disaster in 1989 that resulted in the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans.

In this interview here he explains why he came to Edge Hill University to talk about his work and what spurred him on to support the 23-year campaign by the victims’ families and survivors for justice.

“For me, justice is like giving to humanity, out of compassion, what you would give to your own family out of affection,” he said. “Those families were entitled to know how their loved ones had died.”

He also revealed to the 400-strong audience how he prayed to God after recovering from a triple heart bypass to help him complete his work with the Panel because meeting the victims’ families had made such a deep impression on him.

“They had been deeply wounded and they had been deprived of the ointment of healing. As a Pastor, I became concerned that these wounds should be healed.”

Since the landmark report was published in September 2012, it has led to the Attorney General ordering new inquests for all victims, and has resulted in one of the UK’s biggest independent investigations into police behaviour.

The Bishop, who is standing down later this year, says that it will be “like a bereavement” when he leaves his job after immersing himself in the life of the community and playing a part in uncovering the truth.

Justice exhibition and Bishop’s personal insights on Hillsborough

Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones will offer a personal reflection on his work on the Hillsborough tragedy to coincide with the launch of a unique exhibition, Justice Tonight, at Edge Hill University.

On Wednesday 17th April the Bishop of Liverpool will talk about his work as Chair of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which was established in 2009 to oversee the release of documents relating to the 1989 Hillsborough football disaster that resulted in the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans and a subsequent 23-year campaign by the victims’ families and survivors for justice.

Under the Bishop’s leadership, the panel worked to achieve the maximum possible disclosure of all documents relating to the stadium disaster to uncover the truth.   The landmark report was published in September 2012. The report has since led to the Attorney General ordering new inquests for all victims, and has resulted in one of the UK’s biggest independent investigations into police behaviour.

Bishop James said: “Professor Phil Scraton, a member of the Panel, began his work on Hillsborough when he was at Edge Hill University. I am very conscious of his contribution to understanding this tragedy and at the invitation of the chaplaincy I will speak personally about my pastoral reflections on the work of the Panel.”

Also on the night is the launch of Justice Tonight: The Photographs. The photographic exhibition documents the tour of the justice Tonight band, formed in 2011 by The Farm, Mick Jones from The Clash and Pete Wylie from the Mighty Wah! to raise awareness for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign. In his first public exhibition, photographer Peter Stevens captures the energy, brotherhood and spirit of protest that made their tour not just a series of individual shows, but a collective musical statement of hope and solidarity.

Music on the night will be supplied by Peter Hooton, lead singer of the Farm, who will perform a special DJ set.

Vice-Chancellor John Cater said: “Edge Hill University has had a strong link with the campaign for justice over the past two decades, most particularly through our former colleague and member of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, Professor Phil Scraton.  We are privileged to welcome the Bishop of Liverpool to the University to offer his personal reflections, and greatly appreciate the work of the University’s Multi-Faith Chaplaincy in organising this occasion.”

Arrival for the public lecture is from 5pm, with a 5.30pm start. The event is free to attend but booking is absolutely essential. Log on to www.ehu.ac.uk/bookevents to book your place.

The exhibition launch will take place after the Bishop’s talk at 6.30pm onwards in the Arts Centre. This is free to attend and booking is not required for this.

These events have been organised by the Edge Hill University Multi-Faith Chaplaincy.  Representing various Christian denominations, the Jewish and Muslim faiths, the Chaplains offer staff and students a confidential and supportive service from a faith perspective on variety of issues ranging from financial to family. For more information, contact chaplaincy@edgehill.ac.uk.