Inquests

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.

Overview

  • 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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