Acting for the families in the Westminster terror attack

LONDON, 5 October 2018 -  This week Hogan Lovells completed a complex inquest into the March 2017 Westminster terror attack. As part of the firm's pro bono practice, Hogan Lovells' safety and security team represented the families of the four victims killed on Westminster Bridge. Following the four-week inquest, the Chief Coroner concluded that all victims were 'unlawfully killed'. Any formal recommendations will be issued by the Chief Coroner at a later date.

Working in partnership with barrister, Gareth Patterson QC, Gary Cassidy, Consultant, and Helen Boniface, Senior Associate at Hogan Lovells, advised clients through an extremely complex and sensitive process. Many thousands of documents and witness statements, and hours of film footage, were disclosed and forensically examined throughout the inquest, through which we identified numerous areas of concern.

The firm also made representations to the Chief Coroner for consideration in his formal recommendations to prevent future deaths, including issues concerning MI5 investigatory processes and record keeping, rescue procedures on the River Thames, the absence of physical security measures to protect pedestrians from vehicle borne terror attacks, government policy on risk management and the definition of "crowded places".

On the final day of the inquest, John Frade, husband of Aysha Frade, said: "Even though these proceedings can never bring Aysha back, we are here to make sure that the only ones that should be remembered as a result of this atrocity are Aysha and the other victims. One of the first pieces of advice that Aysha ever gave me was that, “for things to change, you need to change”. We hope that, as part of her legacy, lessons will be learnt preventing other families from being in this situation in future. Aysha will be forever our guiding light and even though our family will never be the same without her, we will continue to fight against the injustice of her futile death.

"We would like to express our sincere and eternal gratitude to Gareth Patterson and Hogan Lovells, especially Helen Boniface and Gary Cassidy, for their dedication, expertise and humanity that has gone above and beyond in every aspect."

Helen Boniface, Senior Associate at Hogan Lovells, said: "Both we and the families are grateful to the Chief Coroner for his extensive investigation into this appalling attack. In our long experience, these catastrophic events require an open and searching inquiry so questions may be answered, not only for the families, but also to maximise public safety in the face of a complex and continuing global threat."

Gary Cassidy, Consultant for Hogan Lovells, said: "Prevention of Future Deaths Reports are an accountability mechanism and play a vital role in improving public safety moving forward. Our recommendations are unlikely to be confined to this inquest and we anticipate similar issues arising at the Coroner's inquests into the London Bridge and Manchester Arena terror attacks where we also represent bereaved families on a pro bono basis."

Hogan Lovells has specialist expertise in this area having represented those impacted by the July 7 London bombings, as well as numerous other terror related incidents including the In Amenas attack, other employees working in hostile environments, and on obtaining compensation for victims of crime and terrorism. The firm holds pro bono partnerships with Victim Support and Hostage UK and regularly works on public policy issues in this area.


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