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Human Rights

Inquest Solicitors

Attending an inquest into the death of a loved one can be very hard. Our specialist inquest solicitors have the expertise and experience necessary to make sure you and your family get the answers you need at this difficult time.

The Coroner calls an inquest when someone has died in a violent or unnatural way. If it is suspected that the state caused, contributed to or failed to prevent the death of a person, the Coroner will call what is known as an Article 2 inquest. At an Article 2 inquest, the state will have legal representation. It's very important to have legal experts on your side to make sure all the facts about your loved one's death are investigated.

We have extensive experience helping the families of people who have died:

  • In police custody
  • In prison
  • After contact with the police
  • Whilst detained under the Mental Health Act

The inquest process is complicated and can be daunting, especially at a time when you are already trying to cope with your loss. Knowing you have an expert team on your side to support you through the proceedings and work hard to make sure the facts are properly investigated can ease the burden.

Our expert solicitors have extensive experience representing families at inquest, in particular the families of individuals who have been especially vulnerable at the time of their death. We work closely with the charity INQUEST to make sure deaths in custody and other state detention are given the attention they deserve.

We're passionate about achieving justice for those who have been let down by the police, social services, and other authority bodies. We will fight to get answers for you and your family and ensure all the facts are investigated so that the same mistakes are not made in the future.

Contact one of our team today on 0800 028 1943 or fill out our online form and we'll call you back.

Experience representing many families at inquest
Work closely alongside charity INQUEST
Specialist Human Rights lawyers
Offices around the country

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Public Inquests - More Information
    • What Is The Purpose Of An Inquest?
    • An inquest is a public hearing held when someone has died in violent or unnatural circumstances. Its purpose is to answer four questions:

      • Who has died?
      • When did they die?
      • Where did they die?
      • How did they die?

      The inquest itself does not blame individuals or organisations, but it does provide the opportunity for a full investigation into a person's death, which helps determine who was responsible.

    • What Is Article 2?
    • Under the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 2 is the right to life. If the state has somehow been involved in a person’s death the Coroner will call an Article 2 inquest and as well as the above four questions, the hearing will also address:

      • In what circumstances a person died

      Examples of an Article 2 inquest are where a person has died:

      • In custody or prison
      • In a psychiatric hospital
      • As the result of lethal force from a police officer

      If the inquest finds there has been a breach of Article 2, you may be able to bring a claim for compensation under the Human Rights Act.

    • How Long Will It Take?
    • Many inquests last only a few hours, but when a person has died in complicated circumstances - especially Article 2 cases - it could take several days, or even a number of weeks.

      The inquest is usually opened soon after the death, but the hearing itself will not take place until all investigations to gather evidence have been concluded. On average, these adjournments last a few months - but if more time is needed for the investigations, it could take longer.

      The Coroner will issue an interim death certificate to allow the family to hold a funeral and take care of the financial and administrative affairs of the deceased in the meantime.

      Coroners have a duty to hold inquests within 6 months of being notified of a death, if possible. If more than 12 months has passed and the inquest has not concluded, they must notify the Chief Coroner.

      Because of the very individual nature of the process and every case, there's no certainty how long any inquest will take. We can advise you in this difficult time and make sure you understand what's happening at every step.

    • Meet The Team
    • Our Public Law & Human Rights solicitors are listed as leaders in their field by legal directories Chambers & Partners and Legal 500. We have taken cases to the highest courts in the UK and Europe and our work has led to changes in the law itself.

      We understand that these cases can be very personal and we treat each and every client with the utmost sensitivity and discretion. Our team will provide a friendly and professional service from the moment you first get in touch.

      Meet our team of Public Law & Human Rights solicitors.

I feel like I've taken on the world and beaten it, not just for me but for everyone else.”

Mrs R, Client
Client Quote

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do I Need Legal Representation At Inquest?

An inquest is held to determine how and when a person died if their death was in violent or unexpected circumstances. If the state was involved in the person’s death they will have legal representation at the inquest and for what is known as 'equality of arms' the family of the deceased will need to have legal representation too.

Having legal representation at inquest is very important to ensure the circumstances surrounding your loved one's death are thoroughly investigated. If your loved one died in police custody or after contact with the police, the police officer(s) in question may have their own legal representation too. It's crucial to have expert lawyers on your side who have the experience and expertise to get you the answers you need and ensure all the facts are fully looked into.

The Coroner decides what evidence is obtained for the inquest. To ensure this evidence is as comprehensive as possible, it may be necessary to conduct an investigation before the inquest. We can help gather evidence and prepare your case so that all the necessary information is seen at the inquest itself.

Some inquests have a jury, which can add to the complexity of the process. There might be legal technicalities to address about the conclusions drawn by the jury or Coroner. Having the right expertise on hand is vital to guide you through the process and make sure you find out the truth about your loved one's death.

Our legal expertise can also ensure that the right action is taken following the inquest. An inquest itself will not blame individuals or organisations for the death of a person - but it can be crucial in determining the failings that contributed to your loved one's death. We will make sure that those responsible are held to account following the findings of an inquest.

Call our solicitors today on 0800 028 1943 or contact us online to find out how we can help.

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Why Choose Irwin Mitchell?

Our expert lawyers have extensive experience in many high profile cases representing families at inquest. We’ve helped families whose loved ones have died in police custody, in psychiatric hospitals or shortly after release. Some of our most notable high profile cases include:

We work closely with the charity INQUEST, which provides advice and support to families who have to attend an inquest and campaigns for greater awareness around deaths in custody and other state detention. We are committed to securing justice for those whose deaths could have been preventable and working to make sure the same mistakes are not repeated.

We understand the issues you will be facing and can help support you in this difficult time. Call the team to today on 0800 028 1943, or contact us online.

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What Is The Inquest Process?

Before the inquest begins, a pathologist will usually conduct a post-mortem to determine the cause of death. If you are unhappy with the results of the post-mortem, you may request a second post-mortem at your own expense.

It is up to the Coroner what evidence is obtained for the inquest. We can help with this process and make sure investigations and reports are commissioned to ensure the evidence that is seen at the inquest is as comprehensive as possible.

The inquest hearing is held once all the evidence is compiled. This is usually within a few months of the death, but sometimes it can be longer if further investigations are needed.

At the inquest itself, the Coroner will call each witness to give evidence. If witnesses do not appear in person their witness statement will be read by the Coroner in their place. If family members are called as witnesses, they will usually give evidence first.

The inquest is not held to establish criminal liability. However, its findings can be very important in then pursuing a case against the persons or organisation responsible. At the end of the inquest the Coroner will deliver a report into their findings.

Our guide to attending inquests gives you more information about what to expect and how Irwin Mitchell can help.

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Awards & Accreditations

We're always proud to be recognised for the work we do for our clients and have been named as a leading firm in the latest legal guides - which provide information and recommendations about lawyers and law firms in the UK

Private Client Team of the Year - Legal Business Awards 2018 legal-500-2019 chambers-2019

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