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Representation in Inquires & Inquests

Representation in Inquires & Inquests

Dealing with the death of a loved one is an emotional and difficult period, especially where the death is connected to possible failures by an agency of the State, such as the police, prison or a hospital. The whole process can be even harder to navigate where there is an inquest.

In cases where there is a possibility that criminal charges will follow the inquest, the Coroner is under obligation to refer the matter to the Police or Crown Prosecution Service before proceeding with the inquest.

What happens during an inquest?

The Coroners Officer will confirm the identity of the deceased and the Coroner will issue a temporary death certificate, which is accepted by most funeral institutions.  She may also release the body.  Sometimes a Coroner will ask the family to attend, for example to provide background information.

The inquest will be resumed when the Coroner has completed her investigations.

Copies of all statements and records will be sent to your representative in order to prepare to represent you at the inquest.

Most Inquests are held before a Coroner alone.  However, the Coroner must hold the Inquest before a jury of between 7 and 11 people if there is reason to suspect that:

  • The death occurred in prison or police custody or as a result of injury caused by the police
  • The death was caused by accident, poising or disease notice of which is required to be given to a government Inspector.
  • The death occurred in circumstances where important issues may be raised, such as public health and safety. Such circumstances rarely occur.

The purpose of an Inquest is to establish who died and how, when and where the deceased came by their death.  The Coroner is therefore required to state her finding as regards:

  • The identity of the deceased
  • The medical cause of death
  • The time place and circumstances in which the deceased died
  • A conclusion

There are a number of conclusions (these are still commonly referred to as verdicts) which may be reached and they include the following:

  • Accidental Death
  • Death by Misadventure
  • Suicide
  • Natural causes
  • Unlawful killing
  • Death due to Lack of Care
  • Open Verdict
  • Narrative verdicts

Our Civil Liberties and Public Law specialists can support you and your family through an inquest and help get you the answers  you are looking for.

Our specialists have considerable experience of dealing with unique and high profile cases and can represent you with professionalism and will put the needs of you and your family first.