Bereaved families and other Interested Persons are entitled to be legally represented if they choose.
At most Inquests families and Interested Persons do not have legal representation and are able to ask questions themselves. In more complex cases where lawyers are involved they will ask questions on behalf of the person or organisation they are representing and can address the Coroner on matters of law.
Legal aid funding is not usually available for representation at Inquests so most families have to pay for legal help themselves. The best thing to do is to speak with a firm of solicitors and take advice from them about what is possible. In exceptionally complex cases if the family were unrepresented, the Coroner may support a legal aid application. Your solicitors would approach the Coroner about this for you.
Obtaining a death certificate
Following the conclusion of an Inquest the Coroner will draw up the necessary paperwork for the Registrars to register the death. The final death certificate will confirm the medical cause of death and will show the Coroner's conclusion.
If you would like to obtain a death certificate you will need to apply to the relevant Registration Office as there is a statutory charge of £11 per certificate.
Preventing Future Deaths (PFD)
The Coroner has the legal power and a duty to write a report following an Inquest if it appears there is a risk of other deaths occurring. This is known as a ‘PFD Report under Regulation 28' because the power comes from regulation 28 of the Coroners (Investigations) Regulations 2013.
The report is sent to the people or organisations that are in a position to take action. They then must reply to the Coroner within 56 days to say what action they plan to take.
We will send a copy of the Coroner's report and the replies we receive to the family and other Interested Persons and to the Chief Coroner who may publish them on his website.
If you Disagree with the Outcome of the Inquest
If on the rare occasion the findings of fact or the conclusion of the Inquest are not agreed with, it is possible to apply to the High Court for what is called a 'judicial review' if you are an Interested Person.
Judicial reviews can only be applied for within 3 months of the end of the Inquest. A review may only be given if it can be shown that the Coroner acted unreasonably, unlawfully, irrationally or if there was significant evidence that was not examined or if there was a major irregularity in the way the Inquest was conducted.
If you wish to pursue such a judicial review you should write to the Coroner in the first instance setting out the reasons. If she agrees that there are grounds, she may make the application to the High Court herself. If she feels that the outcome of the Inquest should stand, you may then apply yourself. As this is such a difficult process, you may need to take legal advice.
Subject to a confidentiality undertaking and payment of the statutory fee of £5 per CD, recording of the Inquest hearing may be made available to you upon your written request.