Being involved in an inquest is almost certainly going to be a traumatic experience for those involved – expert guidance and timely support will help you navigate the process.
Unlike other court hearings, a coroner’s inquest is a fact finding exercise rather than an adversarial process; a coroner’s duty is to determine the cause of death, and the circumstances in which it occurred.
If a member of your family dies suddenly and unexpectedly, you will want to establish and understand the facts surrounding the death of your loved one.
We are able to investigate and examine witnesses to ensure that the questions you want answered are raised during the inquest.
As a business, charity or care home with an interest in an inquest, we can help to protect your interests.
With more and more coroners returning narrative verdicts (a narrative account of matters leading to the individual’s death), the implications of adverse findings on third parties is greater than ever, and we can assist in mitigating the risks involved. If necessary, we can also challenge decisions through the process of Judicial Review.
How we can help
Our experience in this sensitive area stems from representing a variety of ‘interested persons’.
If you may be affected by a coroner’s verdict, or by the manner of evidence being presented during an inquest, then you are an ‘interested person’ and, as such, entitled to take an active role. This might include submitting evidence, examining witnesses, or making submissions to the coroner.
We have represented family members, business owners, insurers and local authorities as ‘interested persons’, and our services include:
- Advising interested persons or witnesses about procedure
- Carrying out investigations and preparing evidence
- Preparation for inquest including instructing appropriate experts and counsel
- Representation during the inquest
- Managing further proceedings that may result from the inquest
Managing the inquest process and coping with the outcome
When an inquest is called to look into a sudden or unexpected death, there will be a number of parties with an interest in both the process and the outcome. That’s because the verdict reached by a coroner can have significant consequences for third parties ranging from reputational damage, to the threat of civil or criminal liability, or specific obligations to take action to prevent the risk of similar deaths occurring.
Whilst some 30,000 inquests are held in the UK each year, the majority of businesses and individuals are unfamiliar with the process or practice of conducting an inquest. Whether you wish to or have been required to attend an inquest, asb can provide advice prior to and representation at inquests, and deal with issues that may arise.
For more information on coroners’ inquests and to start a conversation on how we can help you, please contact Andrew Frake, Associate, Dispute Resolution.