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Challenging inquest conclusions & s.13 applications

Once a Coroner or a Jury has reached a Conclusion about your loved one’s death it can be very hard to challenge it even though you may feel it is wrong. Our human rights team has specialist expertise in advising on and acting in judicial reviews against Coroners, and in applications under the Coroners Act 1988.

Coroners’ and juries’ conclusions at the end of an Inquest can be challenged using judicial review (link?) within 3 months of the decision and if for example new evidence emerges after this, section 13 of the Coroners Act 1988 provides another mechanism to seek a fresh Inquest, starting with an application to the Attorney-General. The threshold for successful judicial review challenges is a high one, and section 13 applications require a good reason for a fresh inquest to be held (“fraud, rejection of evidence, irregularity of proceedings, insufficiency of inquiry, the discovery of new facts or evidence or otherwise”). Section 13 also provides a way to seek an Inquest where one has not previously been held.

The two processes are very different, with judicial review claims having fixed procedures and court fees applying, whereas section 13 applications have no particular rules and there is little in the way of guidance for how decisions should be made. The law in this area is complex and time limits can be short and strict, so it is important to seek specialist advice quickly.

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