Preparation for an inquest
Produced in partnership with Dominic Adamson of Temple Garden Chambers
Preparation for an inquest

The following Corporate Crime guidance note Produced in partnership with Dominic Adamson of Temple Garden Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Preparation for an inquest
  • The opening of the inquest
  • Pre-inquest review (PIR) hearings
  • Raising an argument that a jury should be summoned
  • Disclosure of information by the coroner to interested persons
  • Restrictions on disclosure to interested persons
  • The mechanics of disclosure
  • Witnesses

While it is well known that a coroner controls an investigation into a person’s death, the modern approach to inquest preparation seeks to ensure that interested persons have an opportunity to consider the relevant material in sufficient time. Interested persons are given the opportunity to help define the issues and ensure that there is an effective investigation which is both full and fearless. This note identifies some of the major issues which can arise while preparing for an inquest.

The opening of the inquest

The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (CJA 2009) imposes a duty on the coroner to conduct an investigation into a person’s death when they are informed that the body of a person is within their area and 'there is reason to suspect' that:

  1. the deceased died a violent or unnatural death

  2. the cause of the death is unknown, or

  3. the deceased was in the custody of the State, ie:

    1. prison

    2. police custody

    3. immigration detention centre

    4. detained in a mental hospital

A coroner who conducts such an investigation must, as part of that investigation, hold an inquest. The purpose of an inquest is to determine who the deceased was, when and where the deceased came by their death, how the deceased died. For more information on the scope of coroners’ inquests, see Practice Note: The purpose and scope

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