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inquests and investigations


Coroners’ inquests into unnatural deaths involving health and social care organisations are on the increase. They are particularly stressful for individuals called to give evidence, with the cases being held in public and often in front of family members of the deceased.

We know that every case is different and our approach is tailored to your requirements - inquests always require a combination of shrewd legal analysis and sensitive handling.

Our specialist inquest team advises on over 300 inquests per year, dealing with many complex and sensitive matters and has developed a nationally recognised expertise in the field of coronial law. Many of the witnesses we deal with are unfamiliar with the coroner’s court and have never given evidence before. We support them throughout the process, providing careful guidance on what to expect.

We have been working on behalf of public and private sector health organisations for many years, appearing before more than 50 different coroners across the country, lecturing nationally and hosting quarterly inquest and litigation forums.

what we do...

  • A total solution - we advise on related claims and policy issues, police investigations, Health & Safety Executive prosecutions and disciplinary action.

  • Review of statements to be sent to the coroner.

  • Advice on legal issues, disclosure of documents and likely determinations.

  • Advice on dealing with media and reputational issues.

  • Pre-inquest meetings with your people involved in the case.

  • Advocacy at the inquest and any pre-inquest hearings.

  • Assistance with responding to Prevention of Future Deaths (PFD) reports.

related resources

Legal updates

High Court confirms it's unlawful for assessments for detention under s.2, s.3, s.4 and s.7 Mental Health Act 1983 to be conducted remotely

On 22 January 2021, the High Court confirmed that under the Mental Health Act 1983, the phrases “personally seen” in s. 11(5) and “personally examined” in s. 12(1) require the physical attendance by the AMHP and s.12 Doctor on the patient when an assessment is being carried out for detention under the Act.

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Shared Insights: Inquest update Unlawful Killing conclusions and a Coroner’s thoughts on Maughan

Key insights on Unlawful Killing and inquests during and post lockdown 3.

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Legal updates

Update to the Chief Coroner’s guidance on Prevention of Future Death reports and summary of the Chief Coroner’s annual report

On 4 November 2020, the Chief Coroner issued updated guidance in relation to reports to Prevent Future Deaths, also known as PFD’s or Regulation 28 reports. Although the procedural aspects of PFD reports remain largely unchanged in the updated guidance, there is an additional emphasis on this being a statutory duty for the Coroner.

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Legal updates

Shared Insights: Dealing with the dishonest Claimant – Practical guidance for NHS Trusts

We talk about our involvement in Elder v George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust [2017] and the successful prevention of a potential £2 million fraud on the NHS.

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Simon Tait

Simon Tait

Partner and head of Health Advisory and Litigation

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