The Attorney General has paved the way for a fresh inquest into the deaths of 96 fans who lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster 23 years ago.
Dominic Grieve QC said he will apply to the High Court to have the verdicts of the original hearing quashed so a new one can be held.
The move comes after a report into the Hillsborough disaster laid bare a police cover-up which tried to shift the blame for the tragedy away from South Yorkshire Police to the fans.
A total of 96 Liverpool supporters were crushed to death on the terraces at Hillsborough football stadium in April 1989 when Liverpool FC played Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup semi final.
Mr Grieve said: “My consideration of the evidence is far from complete but, given the anxiety further delay may cause the families affected by the Hillsborough disaster, I have decided to take an exceptional course and state at this stage that, on the basis of what I have already seen, I have determined that I must make an application to the court.
“In doing so, I should make it clear that further work will need to be done before any application can be made.
“My current view is that I will apply to have every one of those 96 inquests quashed.
“I believe that these deaths, arising as they do from a common chain of events, should all be considered afresh.”
The Attorney General said criminal proceedings which may arise following the publication of an independent panel’s report on all the Hillsborough files held by organisations for the last 23 years could have an impact on when a new inquest is held.
He said it was clear there were ‘significant issues over the original inquests’.
But he admitted the procedure to have a new hearing ‘will take some time’ and acknowledged that ‘the wait for truth and justice has been long and unspeakably painful for a great many people’.
Families of the 96 victims want any new inquest hearing to be held in Liverpool rather than Sheffield.
Yesterday South Yorkshire’s Chief Constable David Crompton gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on the findings of the damning report on the Hillsborough disaster published last month.