Lord Justice Goldring, former High Court Judge and Senior Presiding Judge of England and Wales, has been appointed as coroner to oversee the new inquests ordered last December. Additionally, due to a change in the Coroners Act 1988, the new coroner will now have the option of re-staging the inquests outside of South Yorkshire.
"We want to ensure inquests can happen without unnecessary delays so families can find closure," Justice Minister Helen Grant stated. "That is why I am granting coroners the power to move inquests - at their discretion - to the most suitable location. This will bring about greater flexibility, more timely hearings and some relief to families."
While there is no word yet on whether Lord Justice Goldring will choose to exercise the option to move the new inquests to a neutral location or to Merseyside itself, he has stated that the inquests should begin as soon as possible.
Last year saw several breakthroughs for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, and these early developments are setting 2013 up to see more of the same. The appointment of the new coroner is a tangible beginning to the next phase of the campaign, and being freed from the obligation of returning to the place where their loved ones perished nearly twenty-four years ago should bring an added layer of comfort to those closest to the disaster.