Procedure at coroners’ inquests
Produced in partnership with Kevin McLoughlin, Senior Coroner
Procedure at coroners’ inquests

The following Corporate Crime guidance note Produced in partnership with Kevin McLoughlin, Senior Coroner provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Procedure at coroners’ inquests
  • A public hearing
  • Jury
  • Opening remarks
  • Witnesses
  • Evidence
  • Expert evidence
  • Submissions
  • Summing up

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)). Such situations are rare, but if they arise the coroner has no power to exclude the interested persons (IPs). For information on who can become an IP to an inquest, see Practice Note: The purpose and scope of coroners’ inquests: introductory guide for practitioners.

Open justice is fundamental to the common law and is integral to protecting the rights of those involved in court proceedings. This principle applies equally to inquests and is supported by both Articles 2 and 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).

In order to ensure that the public and press may attend, the date, time and place of each inquest must be publicised in advance of the inquest hearings. Guidance from

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