The government could face dozens of new damages lawsuits over delays in holding inquests into conflict-related deaths in Northern Ireland, it emerged yesterday.
As the families of five men killed by either police, soldiers or loyalist paramilitaries were given a High Court date for compensation claims, their lawyer predicted a successful outcome could pave the way for other so-called legacy cases.
Relatives issued proceedings against the coroner and either the PSNI, Police Ombudsman’s Office or Ministry of Defence.
They claim their human rights have been breached by the failure to examine the circumstances surrounding each death as soon as possible.
The families are seeking a High Court declaration that systemic delays have occurred and an order that immediate dates be set for the inquests.
The claims have been brought by the families of Michael Ryan, Fergal McCusker, Neil McConville, James McMenamin and Steven Colwell.
In each of the cases it is claimed that the state and the coroner breached their obligations to ensure prompt human rights-compliant investigations into the deaths.
A potential resolution to the joint judicial review challenge is now understood to be close to agreement.