What is an Inquest?
An Inquest is a formal public fact finding inquiry, conducted by a Coroner, designed to establish where, when and how someone died.
The purpose of the inquest is to discover the facts of the death. This means that the coroner (or jury) cannot find a person or organisation criminally responsible for the death. However if evidence is found that suggests someone may be to blame for the death the coroner can pass all the evidence gathered to the police or Crown Prosecution Service. As a result, the findings of an inquest may profoundly influence the nature of any criminal investigation or subsequent prosecution.
Inquests also play an important part of the process of holding people or organisations to account for deaths and may have a significant impact on civil or disciplinary proceedings that follow.
Inquests are conducted in a formal manner. Statements and legal arguments are prepared and evidence can be called from witnesses. The law and procedure relating to inquests is complex and can be overwhelming, frustrating and confusing. Inquests are particularly distressing for those who have lost a loved one or who have been involved in a traumatic incident that has led to a death.
How can we help?
We have a wealth of experience in assisting those affected by a sudden death leading to an inquest and will provide you with the professional support and advice you need to get through this difficult time.
We can liaise with all the relevant people and authorities on your behalf; this may include the Coroner’s office, the Prison Service, the Police, the Prison and Probation Ombudsman or the NHS and request that you have access to all relevant material prior to a hearing. This may include ensuring that you get disclosure of post mortem examination reports, expert reports, medical records and other documents that are relevant to the death.
We can organise expert representation at hearings to ensure that your views are properly communicated and that issues you want explored are fully examined.
We will ensure that you are kept fully updated throughout the process and that you understand all the steps that we take on your behalf.
We deal with a wide range of inquests including deaths in prisons, hospitals and care homes. We act for families and professionals such as midwives, care workers and Prison Officers.
Legal aid is not generally available for representation at the inquest, but can be provided in exceptional cases. To be eligible for legal aid you must qualify financially and your application must meet strict criteria for exceptional funding. Where legal aid is not available there may be other ways of funding your representation. You might have the benefit of an insurance policy to cover legal expenses, alternatively you may be given assistance by a union or professional organisation. Where you are seeking to fund your representation privately we are able to offer competitive rates and where possible we will seek to agree a fixed fee for our advice, preparation for the inquest and legal representation during the proceedings.
Inquest into the death of NS at HMP Belmarsh – we represented an Officer Support Grade in relation to the death of a prisoner.
Inquest touching the death of Baby PA at Warrington Hospital – we represented 3 midwives in proceedings before Warrington Coroners Court in relation to the sad death of a baby shortly after birth.
Inquest into the death of SH at HMP Liverpool – we represented 2 prison officers at a lengthy and complex jury inquest before Liverpool Coroner’s Court.
Inquest touching the death of MS - represented a Care Worker before Doncaster Coroners Court in relation to the death of an elderly lady at a care home
Inquest touching the death of CF – we represented the family of a RAF veteran who was murdered in December 2014. This case raised serious issues surrounding Article 2 of the Human Rights Act and the obligation of the government to protect the right to life.
Inquest touching the death of JB – we represented a Macmillan nurse in relation to allegations of a criminal nature and linked proceedings before Bolton Coroners Court.
Inquest into the death of CC at Dewsbury & District Hospital– we represented a Mental Health Team Leader in proceedings before Bradford Coroners Court.
Inquest into the death of LS at HMP Elmley – represented an Officer (Support Grade) in proceedings before Maidstone Coroners Court.
To arrange a free initial consultation with a specialist inquest solicitor please contact Jared McNally.
Jared McNally is the Partner dealing with inquests. He has a wealth of experience in this area. He is known for his sympathetic handling of these difficult cases and is committed to promoting the objectives of his clients in each case. He has excellent contacts amongst leading barristers in this field.