If your relative dies there may be an inquest into their death. This page explains what an inquest is, what it will be like and your rights during the investigation.


  • If your relative dies in certain situations, a doctor will report their death to the coroner.
  • The coroner’s job is to find out who died, when, where and the cause of death.
  • The coroner will investigate the death. They may ask for a post-mortem examination or hold an inquest.
  • An inquest is a public investigation. The coroner is in charge of it. An inquest will happen if they don’t know how your relative died or if their death was unnatural.
  • The coroner will not investigate all deaths.
  • If your relative died in a psychiatric ward, prison or in police custody, there may need to be a wider Article 2 inquest.
  • Coroners should keep you involved. They should tell you about the inquest and post-mortem arrangements.
  • If you are a parent, child, spouse, civil partner or partner of someone who has died, you can register as an interested person. This means you can ask questions at the inquest.
  • If the coroner holds an inquest, there may be a jury.
  • At the end of the inquest, the coroner or jury will give a conclusion of how they think your relative died.
  • You may disagree with the coroner’s decision not to hold an inquest or the conclusion of an inquest. You can only challenge this through applying to the High Court.

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