Procedure at coroners’ inquests
Produced in partnership with James Robottom of Matrix Chambers

The following Corporate Crime practice note produced in partnership with James Robottom of Matrix Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Procedure at coroners’ inquests
  • A public hearing
  • Jury
  • Opening remarks
  • Witnesses
  • Self-incrimination
  • Documents and jury bundles
  • Evidence
  • Expert evidence
  • Submissions
  • More...

Procedure at coroners’ inquests

Coronavirus (COVID-19): This Practice Note contains guidance impacted by the Coronavirus Act 2020 (CA 2020). CA 2020, among other measures, confirms that COVID-19 is not a notifiable disease for the purposes of section 7 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, meaning that an inquest into the death of a person who died from COVID-19, does not need to be held with a jury. See CA 2020, s 30. The Chief Coroner has also published a number of guidance notes on the impact of the pandemic on inquests which can be accessed here. For updates on key developments and related practical guidance on the implications for lawyers, see: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the criminal justice system—overview and Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID-19) toolkit.

A coroner conducting an investigation into a death must hold an inquest and that inquest hearing should, wherever possible, be completed within six months from ‘the date on which the coroner is made aware of the death, or as soon as is reasonably practicable after that date’. The procedure to be followed at an inquest is contained in the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (CJA 2009) and the Coroners (Inquests) Rules 2013 (the Inquest Rules), SI 2013/1616.

A public hearing

The public are entitled to attend inquests, unless the coroner considers it is in the interests of national security to exclude them (rule 11(4)).

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