The Attorney General has paved the way for a fresh inquest to be held into the deaths of 96 fans 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 damning report into the disaster laid bare a cover-up which attempted to shift the blame for the tragedy on to its victims.
Mr Grieve said his consideration of the evidence was far from over, but he was taking the exceptional step of indicating he must apply for new inquests to be held on the basis of the evidence he has already read.
Ninety-six Liverpool supporters died in the crush at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on April 15 1989, where their team were to meet 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. In particular, there was not one inquest but 96. My current view is that I will apply to have every one of those 96 inquests quashed."
He went on: "I believe that these deaths, arising as they do from a common chain of events, should all be considered afresh. However, before reaching any final view on the scope of the application, I want to give the families affected the opportunity to make any representations."
Any criminal proceedings would have an impact on when a new inquest could take place, he added, but this would not affect the timing of his application to have the original verdicts overturned. It was clear there were "significant issues over the original inquest", Mr Grieve said. But he admitted the procedure "will take some time" and acknowledged that "the wait for truth and justice has been long and unspeakably painful for a great many people".
It was "inevitable" that the taxpayer was going to pay a significant amount of the costs involved in any new inquest, Mr Grieve added.