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Inquest Solicitors | Coronial Law

Specialist Inquest Lawyers there for you during a difficult time

Our specialist lawyers are frequently appointed by businesses, interested parties and family members to represent their interests at Inquest Hearings throughout England and Wales. If you are aware that an Inquest is to be held in connection with a death that involves you or your business, please call our specialist Inquest Solicitors on 0345 222 9955 or complete our Contact Form at the bottom of this page and one of our lawyers will call you back to advise on how we can assist.

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    Funding an Inquest

    Public Funding (Legal Aid) is only available for Inquests in very limited circumstances, and as a specialist high-end law firm, we do not undertake any work via Legal Aid.

    Our lawyers can be instructed to represent clients at an inquest either via Fixed Fee or Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI).

    If you would like to know the cost of legal representation, please call our lawyers on 0345 222 9955 and we can provide you with a Fixed Fee for preparation and representation.

    When an Inquest Takes Place

    An Inquest will usually be held by a Coroner when a death has occurred in certain circumstances.

    An inquest will usually be required if the death occurred in the following circumstances:

    • At a Road Traffic Collision
    • At Work
    • In Police Custody
    • In Prison
    • Due to violence
    • An unnatural death

    What is   an Inquest?

    An inquest is a public investigation held at a Coroner’s Court to determine who has died, where they died, when they died and how their death occurred. An inquest is not the same as a Criminal Law Trial and for that reason the Coroner’s role is not to apportion blame or to ‘sentence’ anyone involved in the death.

    As mentioned above, the function of the inquest is not to blame an individual or organisation, but instead it provides the opportunity for a full investigation into the death, which helps to establish who was accountable for the death.

    Coronial Law

    The process of an inquest is complicated, and it can be a difficult time, especially if you are coming to terms with the loss of a relative or family member. In such circumstances it is essential for you to have an expert team of lawyers on your side to support you through the process and to ensure that the circumstances of the death are properly investigated.

    Our solicitors and barristers are available to guide you through the process from the start through to the conclusion of the inquest hearing.

    What is an Inquest?

    An inquest is a public investigation held at a Coroner’s Court to determine who has died, where they died, when they died and how their death occurred. An inquest is not the same as a Criminal Law Trial and for that reason the Coroner’s role is not to apportion blame or to ‘sentence’ anyone involved in the death.

    As mentioned above, the function of the inquest is not to blame an individual or organisation, but instead it provides the opportunity for a full investigation into the death, which helps to establish who was accountable for the death.

    What is the Duty of a Coroner?

    The key duty or role a Coroner has at an inquest is to establish how, when and where the deceased came by his or her death.

    A coroner has a duty to investigate and make recommendations, if there is a finding that the death could have been prevented.

    Jury Inquests

    A jury will be present at an inquest where the state had care of the deceased person prior to the death. The Coroner will state whether a jury will be required at the inquest and their role will be to confirm who died and how they died.

    The Coroner also has the discretion to decide whether a jury is required on cases where the state was not involved in the death, this is at the discretion of the Coroner

    How our Specialist Inquest Lawyers Can Assist

    An inquest can occur under a wide range of circumstances such as a fatal road traffic collision or an accident at the workplace. Our solicitors have substantial experience in representing individuals and companies at inquests and are available to advise and guide you through the entire process. If appointed, our lawyers will undertake the following within the Fixed Fee:

    • Provide you with full advice on the process involved
    • Liaise with the Coroner
    • Consider and advise you in respect of the evidence in the case
    • Protect your interests throughout
    • Represent you or your company at any pre-inquest reviews
    • Represent you or your company at the Inquest Hearing

    Why You Need Legal Representation at an Inquest

    The purpose of an inquest is to establish how and when a person died and occurs if the death was unexpected or in violent circumstances. If a business was involved in the person’s death, findings or evidence used at an inquest may form part or may influence a regulatory or criminal prosecution against the company or key individuals therefore, obtaining specialist legal advice and representation at the inquest stage will ensure that your interests are properly represented from the outset.

    The Coroner ultimately decides what evidence is obtained for the inquest. In certain circumstances, it may be necessary to investigate before the inquest. Our lawyers can advise and assist on obtaining evidence and can prepare your case so that all key evidence is presented at the inquest.

    A jury is used on certain inquest hearings and this will require experienced and skilled Court advocacy techniques to address certain conclusions to the Coroner or Jury. Having skilled legal expertise on hand will ensure that key evidence is properly presented before the Jury and that your interests are properly advanced.

    The Length of an Inquest

    The length of time an inquest lasts will depend upon the evidence, the number of witnesses and the complexity of the case. Some inquests can last for several hundred days, such as the Hillsborough Disaster Inquest, which lasted in excess of 300 days.

    Most inquests tend to last between a few days and up to a few weeks in length, however this is based upon the evidence which needs to be considered and the complexity of the case.

    An inquest is usually opened shortly after the death however, the hearing itself will not usually occur until all investigations to obtain evidence have been concluded. Usually, these adjournments will take several months and if further time is required for evidence to be obtained, it could take longer.

    Coroners are under a duty to hold the inquest where possible within 6 months of being notified of the death. If an inquest has not concluded within 12 months, the coroner must notify the Chief Coroner.

    Most cities will have a Coroners’ Court and that is where the inquest will be held. In some towns or smaller cities, inquests are held at Magistrates’ Courts or at the Town Hall.

    Post Mortem

    A post-mortem will usually be performed before the inquest is held, this is done to assist the coroner in determining the medical cause of death. A Coroner must take into consideration the wishes of the family when considering whether a post mortem is required. A pathologist will conduct the post mortem.

    Death Certificate

    A Coroner will issue an interim death certificate so that the family of the deceased are able to hold a funeral and begin administrative affairs of the estate.

    The Inquest Hearing

    The Coroner will open the inquest hearing and if there is a jury then the jury members will be placed under oath and the Coroner will explain to them their duty. The Coroner will usually explain that the inquest is not a means of determining criminal or civil liability and that it cannot blame organisations or individuals for the death.

    Witnesses will then be called to provide evidence at the hearing, in certain circumstances a statement of the witness will be read out. Once the evidence has been heard and all the witnesses have been questioned, the Coroner will sum up the evidence following this the jury or Coroner will give a conclusion.

    Asking Questions

    Questions can be asked at the Inquest by a ‘properly interested person’ or his / her representative.

    A ‘properly interested person’ will usually be a spouse, partner, parent or child of the deceased as well as a person whose actions may have contributed towards the death.

    Conclusion of the Inquest

    Once all the evidence has been heard, the Coroner or jury will reach a conclusion. This will include a statement about who died, where they died, when they died and how they died. In some inquests, a narrative conclusion may also be given, which will summarise the facts surrounding the death in detail.

    Press Coverage During the Inquest

    An inquest is a public hearing, the media may attend and report on what occurred. As the hearing is held in public you cannot prevent the news media from writing about the hearing. Our lawyers are fully prepared to communicate with the media on your behalf.

    Representing Clients at Coroner’s Courts Nationwide

    Our solicitors can be instructed to represent clients at inquests throughout England and Wales. For your convenience, we have listed the details of some Coroner’s Courts in the Midlands below:

    Birmingham Coroner’s Court
    50 Newton Street
    Birmingham
    B4 6NE

    Black Country Coroner’s Court
    Jack Judge House
    Halesowen Street
    Oldbury
    B69 2AJ

    Warwickshire Coroner’s Court
    Warwickshire Justice Centre
    Newbold Terrace
    Leamington Spa
    CV32 4EL

    Nottinghamshire Coroner’s Court
    The Council House
    Old Market Square
    Nottingham
    NG1 2D

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