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Product safety inquests

If you have lost a loved one and are involved in Inquest proceedings, it can be a daunting and a difficult process. Our solicitors have helped many families to obtain answers about the circumstances of how their loved one died and have helped to bring to light any failings which may have contributed to their death. 

Having legal representation at an Inquest can help the Coroner check that the facts surrounding your loved one’s death are properly investigated and considered.  This is particularly important if there are other interested parties at the Inquest who have their own legal team. As well as providing you with representation at an Inquest, our lawyers can help you with guidance in the lead-up to it, to help you identify the questions and issues you want the Coroner to explore.    
Lawyers at Leigh Day are able to provide advice and support to clients through both the Inquest touching on a death and any civil claim which might arise from it.  

What is an inquest?

The majority of deaths which occur in the UK can be registered by a medical practitioner without any further inquiry into the circumstances of death. In certain circumstances however, a death cannot be registered until a Coroner has completed an investigation into that death and reached a conclusion as to how the person died.
A Coroner’s investigation will sometimes include an Inquest, which is a hearing that in all but exceptional circumstances is held in a public court. At this hearing, the circumstances of death are examined by the Coroner and he or she will call relevant witnesses to give evidence about how the deceased died.
Certain individuals, including the deceased’s family, have a right to participate in Inquest proceedings and ask questions of the witnesses called to give evidence.     
A Coroner's investigation is entirely separate from any civil or criminal proceedings which may arise out of a death and a Coroner is expressly prohibited from making findings which determine questions of civil or criminal liability. However, the evidence which a Coroner will obtain as part of his or her investigation, and the conclusions that are reached as to how the deceased came by their death, are frequently relevant to any civil proceedings which may arise from the circumstances of death, including claims arising out of personal injury, clinical negligence or human rights violations. 

Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse discuss the inquest into the death of their daughter Natasha:

What is a Pre-Inquest Review Hearing (PIR)?

A Pre-Inquest Review is a hearing before the Coroner where plans are made for the Inquest itself.  It will look at issues such as:
  • who should be involved as an interested person;
  • what the scope of the inquest will be;
  • whether a jury will be required;
  • which witnesses should be called;
  • what documents need to be provided;
  • whether any expert evidence will be needed;
  • how long the inquest will be, and when.

Leigh Day Inquest case studies

For more information please contact Jill Paterson or Thomas Jervis on 020 7650 1219.  INQUEST has produced The Inquest Handbook which you might find useful.

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