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Product safety inquests

Our product safety inquest team has extensive experience in supporting families at 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.

Jill Paterson

Bereaved families should not have to fend for themselves when faced with a represented public body or a large corporation. An already intensely difficult process can become unbearable without help and can lead to injustice.

Jill Paterson, partner

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

  • Coroner demands action to prevent future deaths following Natasha Ednan-Laperouse inquest: Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died of anaphylaxis on the 17th July 2016 after eating a baguette, purchased from Pret a Manger, which contained sesame.
  • Coroner recommends radical overhaul of consumer laws following fridge-freezer inquest: Santosh Benjamin, 36, was killed as he saved his two young children, after a fire in their home in Wealdstone, North London.
  • Inquest finds electrical fault in tumble dryer caused fire deaths: An inquest into the deaths of Doug McTavish, 39, and Bernard Hender, 19, concluded that an electrical fault in a Hotpoint tumble dryer caused the fire that led to their deaths.
  • The inquest into the death of Kevin Branton found that he died on 13 November 2010 as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning arising from the operation of the grill of a Flavel Milano 50 Cooker, produced by Beko, with the grill door shut.

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.

Get in touch today

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