The plaintiffs are either relatives of the 96 Liverpool fans who died in April 1989 as a result of the stadium onslaught – or those who were present and survived, or their family members.
Their lawyers have applied for a Group Litigation Order (GLO) as this is the most efficient and cost-effective way of dealing with the abuse of office claim against the Chief Constables of South Yorkshire Police and West Midlands Police.
“They claim that they have suffered damage as a result of the agony caused by the lengthy cover-up…”
“The damage to which they are claiming is predominantly psychiatric in nature.
On Thursday, Heather Williams QC said: “They claim that in addition to the damage caused by the events of the disaster itself, they also suffered damage as a result of the agony caused by the extended cover.
“Since April 20, 1989, the West Midlands Police (WMP) was charged with investigating the disaster and subsequently assisted or facilitated the SYP in this cover-up.
Ms Williams told the Chief Constable of the High Court, Master Fontaine, that it was alleged that “senior police officers of the South Yorkshire Police (SYP) had constructed and propagated a false narrative designed to shift blame for the disaster from their own officers to supporters in Liverpool, and encouraged this by suppressing and altering evidence suggesting that the disaster was caused by the SYP’s negligence.
She said that the 2012 Hillsborough Independent Panel report was a “significant breakthrough” and that the new investigations in Hillsborough, which ended in April, concluded that the 96 people had been unlawfully killed and were highly critical of a number of organisations, including the SYP.
The investigating jury was not directly involved in the post-mortem events and was not asked to draw conclusions regarding a cover-up.
The hearing in London, which, according to Ms Williams, involved allegations of “extreme severity”, is expected to last one day.
Ms Williams said that both the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and Operation Resolve, which is conducting the new criminal investigation, are expected to turn over evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) by the end of this year.