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When will a coroner hold an inquest into a death?

Not every investigation that it is initiated by a Coroner will lead to an Inquest being held. 

If the Coroner is satisfied that following a post-mortem examination or other preliminary investigations he or she is able to establish that there is no reason to suspect that the circumstances listed in the Coroners and Justice Act (as listed above) apply and he is able to reach a conclusion of how the deceased died without any further inquiry, the investigation must be discontinued and no Inquest will be held.

However, if the Coroner feels unable to establish the circumstances of death and he or she remains concerned that the deceased died in “violent” or “unnatural” circumstances, an Inquest must be held. An Inquest will be held in public in all but exceptional circumstances, for example when there are issues of national security at stake.  

Under the new Coroner’s Rules, if a Coroner does call an Inquest it must be must completed within six months of the date on which the Coroner made aware of the death, or as soon as is reasonably practicable after that date. If an Inquest does not conclude within a year of the death, the Chief Coroner must be notified and the reasons for the delay be set out.

For more information please contact Suzanne White on 020 7650 1200 at Leigh Day for information and support about inquests.

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