Coroners Inquests

More about coroners inquests

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More about coroner’s inquests

An inquest may provide some of the answers you seek and the information revealed may also be very helpful to a possible claim. In Scotland a ‘fatal accident inquiry' is held and although it has the same purpose as an inquest, when it is convened and how it is arranged is significantly different to English law.

An inquest is usually opened to record the death and issue documents required for burial or cremation. It’s then adjourned until any police enquiries or coroner's investigations are completed. The full inquest can then be resumed, so it's not unusual for the inquest to take place sometime after the funeral.

The coroner's role is not to apportion blame for the death. The coroner does however have the power to investigate not just the main cause of death, but also anything which directly lead or contributed to it. All inquests must be held in public and the press can be present. Most inquests are held without a jury except for certain types of death e.g. a death in prison. Witnesses called to give oral evidence at inquest are required to do so under oath.

The coroner is limited in the range of conclusions (previously called verdicts) that can be given. These include: natural causes, industrial disease, want of attention at birth, suicide, accident or misadventure, lawful or unlawful killing or still birth.

An open conclusion is reached when there is insufficient evidence for any other conclusion. More recently narrative conclusions, which set out a brief summary of what happened, have become more common.

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