Requesting an Inquest

If you have lost a loved one, you may require more answers regarding the circumstances of their death.

The purpose of an inquest is to determine the facts and events which surround someone’s death and to help provide closure to those who need it.

Our team are here to represent and assist you throughout the process in a sensitive, empathetic manner and we will provide you with advice tailored to your specific needs.

What is an Inquest?

In most situations, when someone dies there are obvious reasons for the cause of death which can be signed off by a doctor.

However, there are circumstances when the cause of death is not obvious and a coroner can request a post-mortem, to explore further possibilities.

If the cause of death remains unclear a coroner will open an inquest. This is typical in circumstances where the following has occurred:

  • An unnatural or violent death
  • The death occurred in custody or detention
  • The cause of death remains uncertain after a post-mortem has been conducted

During an inquest, you will need to ask for an interim death certificate so you can notify the registrar of the death. Once the inquest is finished, you can obtain the final death certificate from the registrar.

We understand that losing a loved one is extremely distressing, which is why our experienced team are on hand to assist clients throughout the inquest process.

Who can attend an inquest?

Inquests are public, and in some situations, they can be high profile, due to the interests involved. Reports of an inquest may be published in national and local newspapers, however, usually only a minority of inquests are reported on in such a way.

In some circumstances, a jury will be present at an inquest. Every citizen over the age of 18 living within a coroner’s district is liable to serve on a jury unless they are exempt.

Coroners also have the power to call witnesses to appear at an inquest and to determine which evidence they wish to be heard. Anyone who is called to be a witness must attend an inquest if they have any information or evidence that details how a person came to their death.

How can we assist?

Our specialist legal team can help you by obtaining medical records, corresponding with the courts, drafting witness statements, questioning witnesses, and making representations on your behalf.

We work closely with our clients during such a difficult time and aim to make sure that the inquest provides all the answers they need.

We are one of a limited number of firms in England and Wales that are able to offer representation for bereaved families through legal aid funding. In the event that legal aid funding is not available, we will always work with you to find the best option to suit your circumstances.

The department at Southerns includes two Assistant Coroners in addition to other members of the team who have extensive experience in this area of law.

If your loved one has died in State detention (unless it is a natural cause of death) or it is suspected that there has been a failure to prevent the death by the State or if the State may have caused or contributed to the death of a loved one, the Coroner will deem this to be an “Article 2” inquest. This will mean that the State will have legal representation.

We need to assist you so that you can also be represented.

To find out more about our services visit our inquest page.

Why Choose Us

We have been advising clients since 1792 and therefore we have a great reputation for understanding and getting the best results for our clients.

Speak to us about your circumstances and we’ll always explain your options, any fees, funding options or legal aid eligibility and tailor the advice to your individual needs.

Contact Us

For a free initial discussion, please call us on 01282 422 711 to see how we can help.

Alternatively, you can email us at and we’ll get back to you.

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