My Week: Kevin Hart is helping bereaved service families

The solicitor at the Royal British Legion's independent inquest advice service recounts his week

Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart

MONDAY I accompany a bereaved service family to a meeting with a government minister. The family is emotional but measured and I think the meeting goes well. It is agreed there will be an inquiry to review the family's case - a real breakthrough after months of persistence. The family are pleased, saying they wouldn't have got this far without our help. I later meet a friend who is getting married in the autumn - he asks me to be best man, and I accept.

TUESDAY I have a day in the office and start the prep work from yesterday's meeting, including the documents to go to counsel and a draft case review. More enquiries come in, such as an email from a bereaved mother of a multiple fatality incident in Afghanistan. I email her back immediately to organise a meeting. I start thinking of my best man suit and in the evening I head to the gym.

WEDNESDAY I make my way to a Royal Air Force base for a meeting with a widow before an inquest next month. I'm pleased we have an advocate working pro bono on the case, particularly as the widow only heard of our service quite late. We go through the full service inquiry into her husband's death, and the papers show there were system failures in the training exercises. It makes difficult reading for the widow.

THURSDAY I organise a meeting with the mother and aunt of a soldier who was killed. The coroner leaves a message to say he is sending disclosure documents to me but there's been a delay. I then board a train to Liverpool for a meeting tomorrow with three new service families.

FRIDAY I head to the legion's new pop-in centre in Liverpool for my meeting with the families. We discuss what is happening with the case, the next steps, their rights at the inquest and the service the legion can provide. It is amazing how many questions start to pour from the families once they get talking. I board the train back to London, which gives me plenty of time to think about my best man speech.

 

Kevin Hart is a solicitor at the Royal British Legion's independent inquest advice service

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