The Government will fund legal representation for the families of the 96 Liverpool fans killed in the Hillsborough disaster at the new inquest ordered into their deaths.

The High Court on Wednesday quashed the accidental death verdicts returned after the supporters died in the crush at the stadium in Sheffield 23 years ago. The move will mean a fresh hearing into the deaths, but the families had been concerned about the cost of hiring lawyers to represent them.

Commons Leader Andrew Lansley told MPs: "The Government will provide funding for the legal representation of the bereaved Hillsborough families at the fresh inquests."

The unopposed, "exceptional" application to quash the original inquest verdict was made by the Government's top law officer, Attorney General Dominic Grieve, on Wednesday.

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  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    Trevor Hicks (front) waves as he comes out of the High Court in London, with other family members and supporters, after the court quashed the original accidental death inquest verdicts returned after 96 Liverpool football fans died in the crush at Hillsborough 23 years ago.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    (From left to right) Trevor Hicks, Margaret Aspinall and Jenny Hicks speak to the media as they leave the High Court in London, after the court quashed the original accidental death inquest verdicts returned after 96 Liverpool football fans died in the crush at Hillsborough 23 years ago.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    (From left to right) Andy Burnham, Margaret Aspinall, Steve Rotherham MP, Jenny Hicks, Maria Eagle MP and Trevor Hicks leave the High Court in London, with other family members and supporters, after the court quashed the original accidental death inquest verdicts returned after 96 Liverpool football fans died in the crush at Hillsborough 23 years ago.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    (From left to right) Jenny Hicks, Andy Burnham MP and Margaret Aspinall leave the High Court in London, after the court quashed the original accidental death inquest verdicts returned after 96 Liverpool football fans died in the crush at Hillsborough 23 years ago.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    (From left to right) Trevor Hicks, Margaret Aspinall and Jenny Hicks speak to the media as they leave the High Court in London, after the court quashed the original accidental death inquest verdicts returned after 96 Liverpool football fans died in the crush at Hillsborough 23 years ago.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    (From left to right) Andy Burnham, Margaret Aspinall, Steve Rotherham MP, Jenny Hicks, Maria Eagle MP and Trevor Hicks leave the High Court in London, with other family members and supporters, after the court quashed the original accidental death inquest verdicts returned after 96 Liverpool football fans died in the crush at Hillsborough 23 years ago.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    (From left to right) Jenny Hicks, Andy Burnham MP and Margaret Aspinall leave the High Court in London, after the court quashed the original accidental death inquest verdicts returned after 96 Liverpool football fans died in the crush at Hillsborough 23 years ago.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    Andy Burnham MP hugs Margaret Aspinall as they leave the High Court in London, with Trevor Hicks and Jenny Hicks, after the court quashed the original accidental death inquest verdicts returned after 96 Liverpool football fans died in the crush at Hillsborough 23 years ago.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    (From left to right) Trevor Hicks, Margaret Aspinall and Jenny Hicks speak to the media as they leave the High Court in London, after the court quashed the original accidental death inquest verdicts returned after 96 Liverpool football fans died in the crush at Hillsborough 23 years ago.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    Trevor Hicks (right) leaves the High Court in London, with other family members and supporters, after the court quashed the original accidental death inquest verdicts returned after 96 Liverpool football fans died in the crush at Hillsborough 23 years ago.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    Anne Williams, who lost her son Kevin in the Hillsborough Stadium disaster, arrives at the High Court in London, ahead of the Hillsborough inquest application.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    MP for Leigh Andy Burnham arrives at the High Court in London, ahead of the Hillsborough inquest application.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    Jenny Hicks, who lost her two daughters in the Hillsborough Stadium disaster, arrives at the High Court in London, ahead of the Hillsborough inquest application.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    (From left to right) Andy Burnham MP, Margaret Aspinall, Steve Rotherham MP, Jenny Hicks and Trevor Hicks leave the High Court in London, with other family members and supporters, after the court quashed the original accidental death inquest verdicts returned after 96 Liverpool football fans died in the crush at Hillsborough 23 years ago.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    Trevor Hicks, who lost his two daughters in the Hillsborough Stadium disaster, arrives at the High Court in London, ahead of the Hillsborough inquest application.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    Trevor Hicks, who lost his two daughters in the Hillsborough Stadium disaster, arrives at the High Court in London, ahead of the Hillsborough inquest application.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    Anne Williams, who lost her son Kevin in the Hillsborough Stadium disaster, arrives at the High Court in London, ahead of the Hillsborough inquest application.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    A man wearing a Liverpool shirt outside the High Court in London, ahead of the Hillsborough inquest application.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    MP for Leigh Andy Burnham arrives at the High Court in London, ahead of the Hillsborough inquest application.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    Anne Williams, who lost her son Kevin in the Hillsborough Stadium disaster, arrives at the High Court in London, ahead of the Hillsborough inquest application.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    Jenny Hicks (left) and Margaret Aspinall (right) arrive at the High Court in London, ahead of the Hillsborough inquest application.

  • Hillsborough inquests court case

    Jenny Hicks (left) and Margaret Aspinall (right) arrive at the High Court in London, ahead of the Hillsborough inquest application.

It followed the publication in September of a damning report laying bare a cover-up which attempted to shift the blame for the tragedy on to its victims.

The Liverpool supporters died at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on April 15 1989, where their team were to meet Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi-final.

The High Court ruled that it was "necessary, desirable and in the interests of justice" that a fresh inquest should be held.
A new police investigation into the disaster has also been announced.

Mr Lansley made the announcement on funding during questions on future Commons business. His comments came after shadow Commons leader Angela Eagle had warned the families would "have to meet expensive legal costs to ensure they are adequately represented at the new inquests".

The Government has also pledged to effectively waive VAT on a charity single - a version of the Hollies' hit He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother by The Justice Collective - aimed at helping meet the legal costs.