Inquest Representation Service

FAQs about Coroners Law

Below find frequently asked questions about Coroners Law and Procedure. If there is not an answer to your question, give us a call without obligation.

Browse our articles on coroners law, in the right hand column

Inquest Representation Service

Below find frequently asked questions about Coroners Law and Procedure. If there is not an answer to your question, give us a call without obligation.

Browse our articles on coroners law, listed beneath our questions and answers.

Inquest Representation Service

I have received a letter from the coroner asking me to write a statement. What do I write?

Each case will be fact specific. The coroner’s job at the inquest is to answer 4 questions: who, when, where and how the deceased died. So when a coroner asks someone to make a statement usually he is trying to establish the factual background that led to the death. The content of the statement will vary. For example a health care professional such as a doctor or nurse should write an account of all their involvement in the deceased’s care. The coroner wants an accurate account so it is standard for health care professional to look back at the entries in the deceased’s patient records to help them. If you are a family member of the deceased the coroner may be asking you for a statement so that you can give a pen portrait of the deceased to help with the formal information that he has to write in the Record of Inquest and to give some background about the deceased’s general health and lifestyle. You may have been involved in the period leading up to the death. If so the coroner will need to know about this.

The coroner is limited in how far back in time he can go in terms of determining “how” the deceased died. When a family member is asked to write a statement it can be difficult to gauge how far back to go in the deceased’s history especially if the death resulted from a medical condition.  Because the lawyers at Inquest Representation Service specialise in inquest law they have the expertise to advise on the content of a statement.

If you would like to see if we can help and advise you about writing your statement, or for more  general advice about inquests please call Inquest Representation Service, to speak to one of  our lawyers  on 033 00 77 00 97. Calls are in confidence and without obligation.

I have received a witness summons to attend an inquest. Should I have legal representation?

Not always. Firstly you can have legal representation only if you are classed as an Interested Person. Secondly, there are broadly three categories of witness who may give evidence at an inquest: those who give an historical background (for example a G.P. giving a summary of the deceased’s medical history,), those who give evidence  about the facts leading up to the death, and. expert witnesses. If your evidence falls into the second category there is a possibility you could be an interested person. If it is likely that something edid or failed to do may have caused or contributed to the death of the deceased you should consider taking legal advice about being legally represented at the inquest hearing ( and a pre inquest review if one is scheduled by the coroner).

You may be a relative of the deceased and the coroner may want you to give evidence about the deceased’s recent life history. In itself this may not need a representative. Some people in this situation find it helpful to have some general advice about the inquest so that they know what to expect.  Others may want to have their own legal representative to ask questions on their behalf of the other witnesses who attend to give evidence.

If you would like to explore the possibility of obtaining advice about being a witness or about being legally represented please call Inquest Representation Service on 033 00 77 00 97. Alternatively go to the contact us section.

I am unhappy with what happened at the Inquest. Can I challenge this?

There is no right of appeal against the coroner (or jury’s) verdict in an inquest. In certain circumstances it may be possible to bring a claim for Judicial Review, or to apply to the High Court for an order to have an inquest verdict set-aside and for a fresh inquest to take place. There do need to be clear legal grounds to pursue these types of claim, mere dissatisfaction is not sufficient. For examples of when these remedies have been granted or refused see the Case Summaries. If you think you may have grounds to pursue post-inquest remedies our lawyers at Inquest Representation Service will be able to advise and assist you. If you need to bring a Judicial Review claim there is a maximum time limit of 3 months so it is advisable not to delay if you want some legal advice.  Call 033 00 77 00 97 to speak to one of our lawyers.

At the end of the inquest the coroner said he was going to make a Report on Action to Prevent Future Deaths. How does this work?

The coroner is required by law to issue one of these reports to any person or organisation, where, in the opinion of the coroner, action should be taken to prevent future deaths. It is important to understand that the report is a recommendation that action should be taken, not, what the action should be. To trigger a report something must have come out of the coroner’s investigation to create in his mind a concern for future life caused by present or future circumstances. The coroner can issue one of these reports only once he has considered all the documents, evidence and information that in the opinion of the coroner is relevant to the investigation. In the report the coroner should set out in a clear, simple and non-contentious way the factual basis for the concern(s) that he holds.  The coroner will send the report  to anyone he believes has the power to take action on his concerns. There is a 56 day time frame for the recipients of the report to respond.

How do I complain about a Coroner?

A coroner is a judicial office holder and a complaint can be made to the coroner directly or to the complaints body that overseas complaints against coroners. An individual or organisation discontent with a coronial decision or inquest verdict is likely to have to lodge an appeal or judicial review to challenge the substance of the determination or verdict, rather than go through the complaints channels. The complaint channel, in contrast, would be for a complaint, say, about a coroner being rude. Inquest Representation Service can advise on which approach to take in a given set of circumstances. Call 033 00 77 00 97 to speak to one of our lawyers.

How does the inquest process work?

The inquest process usually works as set out in the diagram below:-flow chart final copy IRS Paula

You can download a copy of the above diagram: Inquest Process in PDF Format.

For more information about inquests, call Inquest Representation Service on 033 00 77 00 97 All calls are free of obligation and confidential.

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