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Grenfell fire probe attracts more than 500 applications to be core participants

Core participants are afforded the right to ask questions during the hearings as well as access evidence.

More than 500 individuals and organisations have so far applied to be core participants in the public inquiry into the Grenfell fire.

At the opening of the inquiry on September 14, chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick said around 300 applications had been received.

In the month following his opening statement, a further 200 applications have been made by those wishing to participate, the inquiry said.

Core participants (CPs) are afforded the right to ask questions during the hearings as well as access evidence.

Many survivors are among those to have applied for such status, some as part of campaign groups such as Justice4Grenfell, others individually.

While those wishing to be core participants were asked to submit their applications by September 8, the chairman made it clear that any applications received after that date would still be considered.

In the case of the Grenfell Inquiry, certain groups automatically qualified for CP status. These were the survivors of the fire, all individuals who were residents of Grenfell Tower at the time of the blaze, and the families of those who died or were injured and unable to participate in the inquiry as a result.

The inquiry will be split into two phases. The first will examine the immediate causes of the fire and how it came to spread with such deadly effect.

It is hoped this strand of the inquiry will be conducted speedily to help prevent similar fires taking place at high-rise blocks in future.

In the second stage, the refurbishment of the tower will be put under the microscope – investigating how and why it came to be wrapped in flammable cladding and insulation.

Why residents’ warnings were ignored, the response of Kensington and Chelsea Council and central Government in the aftermath of the fire and the work of the emergency services will be among a catalogue of issues also explored.

Sir Martin has indicated a report of preliminary findings will be prepared in time for Easter 2018.

The judge stressed, however, that pinning down a timeline for the inquiry hinges on the co-operation of all concerned parties and his team’s access to evidence.

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