January 2022 Update:
Stephanie Barwise QC, Omar Eljadi and Dalton Hale (Atkin Chambers) and Marie Claire O’Kane (4 New Square) have been representing one of two groups of bereaved and survivors in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
Hearings for Phase 1¹ began on 21 May 2018 and concluded on 12 December 2018. The Chairman published his Phase 1 report on 30 October 2019 which adopted Stephanie Barwise QC’s submissions asking the Chairman to find the cladding system non-compliant with functional requirement B4(1) of the Building Regulations on the basis that it promoted rather than “adequately resisted” flame spread. The Inquiry found that both the cladding panels and the cladding system as a whole non-compliant with B4(1). (See “Phase 1 report overview – non-compliance with Building Regulations”).
Phase 2 started in July 2020 and is focusing on the remainder of the list of issues following which the final report will be written and subsequently published.
- Module 2² (of Phase 2) has concerned the potential abuse of large-scale testing pursuant to BS8414 which is one of the alternative routes to fire safety compliance for facades under Approved Document B. Module 2 has also raised concerns as to the role of independent test houses and certifiers in their participation in such tests/certification of products so tested.
- Module 3 concerned the responsibility of the landlord of Grenfell, the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (“RBKC”), and its managing agent, the Tenant Management Organisation (“TMO”) for failures to ensure active and passive fire safety measures within the building so as to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, 2005. RBKC has made various admissions as to such failures.
- Module 6² which concerns the role of Government and independent test houses and certifiers together with institutions representing various sectors of the construction industry, has just begun and Stephanie Barwise QC, leading Dalton Hale (Atkin Chambers) and Marie Claire O’ Kane (4 New Square), made Opening submissions in December 2021 – see recent media coverage including:
- BBC News: “Grenfell Tower: Governments hid fire safety risks, inquiry hears” (6 Dec 2021)
- The Guardian: “Grenfell inquiry: government ‘deeply sorry for past failures’” (6 Dec 2021)
- The Times: Cladding failed test 15 years before Grenfell Tower fire” (7 Dec 2021)
- FT: “UK government apologises for failures that led to Grenfell tragedy” (7 Dec 2021)
¹Stephanie Barwise QC joined in August 2018 by Omar Eljadi
²Stephanie Barwise QC, Dalton Hale and Marie Claire O’ Kane only