Inquest Representation ServiceFrequently Asked Questions (Inquest Law and Our Services)

Can I speak to a lawyer from Inquest Representation Service without commitment?

Yes. If you make a call or on-line enquiry to Inquest Representation Service you are not making any commitment to engage our legal services. One of our lawyers will have a preliminary discussion with you about your case or legal query you may have about inquests. This will allow us to see if we can help you. What you tell us is treated in strictest confidence. After the initial contact if you think you would like to use our services you will be sent a client care letter. This sets out the work you have agreed our lawyer will do for you, his terms and fees so that you can decide whether or not you wish to go ahead and instruct our lawyer. You are not committed until you have signed the client care letter and sent it back to us. Until this happens our lawyer has not been instructed by you and will not be able to undertake any work on your case.

To discuss any issue about inquest law with a lawyer at Inquest Representation Service call us on 033 00 77 00 97

How do I instruct a lawyer at Inquest Representation Service?

The first step is to contact us by telephone or by making an on-line enquiry. One of our lawyers will then have a preliminary discussion with you to identify the area of inquest law you are seeking advice about and /or whether you require legal representation. There is no charge for this initial discussion and you are under no obligation to use our legal services. During the discussion our lawyer will usually be able to give you an estimate of the likely costs involved. However, it is likely that you will need to send him copies of all the case papers before he can give you final figures.  Once this has happened, if you would like to proceed we will send you a client care letter (contract) for you to sign and return. This will set out our lawyer’s terms of engagement and the fees that he will charge. Not until you have signed and returned the client care letter to us have you instructed the Inquest Representation Service lawyer. Several barristers who specialise in all aspects of inquest law work within Inquest Representation Service. They can work on a Public Access basis or can accept instructions from solicitors. See also our terms of use of this website.

Call us in strictest confidence and without any obligation on 033 00 77 00 97

How much will it cost to use an Inquest Representation Service lawyer?

Before you engage the services of one of our lawyers they will give you a clear estimate of the likely fees you will pay. The fees of each lawyer at Inquest Representation Service will depend on how senior they are and their level of experience. Depending on the type of work to be done our lawyers will charge at hourly rates or on a fixed fee basis. Fixed fees are usually charged for conferences and legal representation at the inquest and any pre inquest review hearings.

During a preliminary discussion our lawyer will be able to get an understanding of the issues in the case that you are seeking assistance with. Usually this will enable them to give you a rough estimate of the fees. Our IRS lawyer will then need to see copies of all the case papers to give a more detailed assessment of the fees involved. If you decide you would like to engage the services of our lawyer the fees will be clearly set out in the client care letter which is sent to you to sign and return before our lawyer starts any work on your case.

Please call Inquest Representation without obligation on   033 00 77 00 97  if you would like to find out more about the fees that may be charged in your case. All calls are treated in confidence.

Can I get legal aid (public funding) to be represented at an inquest?

Generally you can get legal aid only in very limited situations.  There is an article about legal aid in inquests on this website.

If you would like to have a discussion about the likely costs involved in your case and possible ways of funding them please call Inquest Representation Service on  033 00 77 00 97

I have a solicitor already, can I use Inquest Representation Service?

Yes.  The lawyers at IRS are specialist barristers so your solicitor can instruct us on your behalf. As specialists, our lawyers will be able to advise you and your solicitor on any steps that should be taken to prepare for the inquest and any pre inquest review hearings. We can provide the representation at those hearings. Our lawyers can attend at your solicitors’ office for a conference to advise on your case.

If you do not have a solicitor in many cases it will be possible for one of our lawyers to take your case on directly.

So, if you are an individual (or business) looking for assistance with an inquest case it does not matter if you have a solicitor or not. Please call Inquest Representation Service to speak to one of our specialist lawyers.

If you are a solicitor call Inquest Representation Service and our clerk will put you in contact with one of our barristers to discuss how they might be able to assist you.

Call Inquest Representation Service on 033 00 77 00 97 All calls are free of obligation and confidential.

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.

How do I compliment or complain about IRS?

See our terms page for more information.

Contact Inquest Representation Service in strict confidence to discuss any aspect of inquest law on: 033 00 77 00 97