Challenging the conclusions or findings of coroners’ inquests
Produced in partnership with Louise Jones of Guildhall Chambers, Bristol
Challenging the conclusions or findings of coroners’ inquests

The following Corporate Crime guidance note Produced in partnership with Louise Jones of Guildhall Chambers, Bristol provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Challenging the conclusions or findings of coroners’ inquests
  • Challenge by judicial review
  • Timing a judicial review challenge in coroners’ inquests cases
  • Procedure
  • Remedies available on successful challenge
  • Challenge pursuant to section 13(1) of the Coroners Act 1988

As there is no route for a statutory appeal from the coroner’s court, the supervisory jurisdiction of the Administrative Court is important for those who wish to challenge the conclusion reached by a coroner or a jury, see below: Challenge by judicial review. Judicial review is a review of the decision-making process, not an appeal.

Aside from judicial review, the only other way in which a coroner’s conclusion can be challenged is pursuant to section 13(1) of the Coroners Act 1988 (CA 1998), see below: Challenge pursuant to section 13(1) of the Coroners Act 1988.

Challenge by judicial review

The conventional judicial review grounds applicable in the coronial context are, broadly speaking:

  1. procedural impropriety/unfairness

  2. irrationality (ie in the Wednesbury sense), and

  3. illegality

For more information, see Practice Note: Judicial review—what it is and when it can be used.

There is likely to be some overlap between these grounds in reality. The following Practice Note concentrates on some key areas of practice in which attempts to challenge coroners’ conclusions are made. It is not possible to provide an exhaustive list of all the potential areas of challenge, as judicial review extends in principle to all the decisions made by a coroner in the conduct of an inquest. The majority of challenges made to coroners’ decisions are to the ultimate conclusion of the inquest.

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