What is an Inquest?

When someone dies 'a sudden or unnatural death' or a 'sudden death of which the cause is unknown' the death will be reported to the Coroner.

In plain English an inquest is an enquiry aimed at identifying the cause of death. Sometimes the coroner will sit with a Jury. Once all of the evidence has been considered there are a number of possible decisions, such as:

  • natural causes
  • industrial disease
  • dependence on drugs/non-dependent abuse of drugs
  • want of attention at birth
  • suicide/killed him or herself whilst the balance of his or her mind was disturbed
  • accident or misadventure
  • disaster which is the subject of a public inquiry
  • attempted or self-induced abortion
  • lawful killing
  • unlawful killing
  • open verdict - this means that the cause of death cannot be established and doubt remains as to how the deceased came to their death
  • still birth
  • narrative verdict

If a narrative verdict is delivered, then a jury may express opinions about the circumstances leading to the death of an individual and the Coroner has the power to make recommendations to the health authority, police or prisons, so that a death in similar circumstances can be avoided in the future.

We absolutely understand that dealing with the prospect of an Inquest is often daunting. You can be assured that Paul Caulfield and Lewis Pearson have huge experience in representing families at Inquests. Additionally Paul Caulfield has a wealth of experience representing Police Authorities relating to deaths in custody. Paul's ability to prepare and present a case from different perspectives, gives him an excellent insight into the relevant issues, ensuring you will receive excellent legal advice and representation.

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