At the end of his or her investigation, the Coroner will complete a document called a “Record of an Inquest
”. This document will include determinations relating to who the deceased was, where, when and how they died. The record of an Inquest will further include a “Conclusion as to the death” (previously known as the “verdict”). This conclusion can be in a simple short form with one or two words such as “neglect” or “natural causes”, or it can contain a narrative of the circumstances leading to the death. A conclusion must not be framed in a way which might determine any question of civil or criminal liability on the part of a named person.
If a Coroner considers that his or her investigation has given rise to a concern that circumstances exist which create a risk of further deaths occurring, and that he or she feels that action should be taken to prevent such deaths occurring, the Coroner is under a duty to make a report
to prevent future deaths occurring. Such a report can be very important for families seeking to ensure that steps are taken so that the circumstances leading to the death of a loved one are no longer allowed to exist.
Although, as indicated above, a Coroner is expressly prohibited from making any conclusion as to civil liability, his or her findings and any report to prevent future deaths, can certainly be persuasive evidence in any subsequent civil proceedings.
For more information please contact Suzanne White on 020 7650 1200 at Leigh Day for information and support about inquests.