Published Tuesday, 26 June 2012
Relatives of those shot in Loughinisland are appealing the ombudsman report. (© Pacemaker)
A judge quashed a decision to deny legal aid to the families in the High Court on Tuesday.
He ordered it to be reconsidered by a fresh panel.
The verdict strengthens their bid to bring proceedings over former Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson's report which found insufficient evidence of security force collusion with the loyalist killers.
That case was put on hold while the Legal Services Commission's funding refusal was contested.
Six Catholics were killed and five others were seriously wounded when UVF gunmen opened fire at the Heights Bar in Co Down in 1994.
Barney Green was 87 when the shooting took place, making him one of the oldest victims of the Troubles.
No one has been convicted of the murders, although 16 people have been arrested in connection with the attack.
Victims' relatives suspect the RUC investigation was undermined in order to protect informants.
But in June last year the Police Ombudsman report found there was insufficient evidence of collusion between police and the loyalist gang.
The ombudsman did identify failings in the investigation, criticising it for a lack of diligence, focus and leadership.
Wife of one of the victims, Brigid Green contested the decision to refuse legal aid funding for their proceedings against the report's findings.
However, the case against the Ombudsman is not thought to depend on securing legal aid.
Mr Justice Treacy today accepted arguments by the families' legal team that other issues should have been taken into account.
He stressed: "All I have done is to quash the decision. They are going to have to go back to a fresh panel to decide the matter in light of what I have said."
Costs of bringing the judicial review challenge were also awarded to the Loughinisland families.
Outside court their lawyer, Niall Murphy welcomed the court's decision.
"That original decision to refuse must now be considered to be irrational."