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A sorry state of affairs for Thomas Cook as backlash continues

26 May 2015

Thomas Cook is paying a heavy price in the media currently, all because it failed to respect the sensitive nature of the inquest procedure.

Whether, as in the Thomas Cook case, the death occurred abroad or within the UK, the processes of investigating fatal incidents often takes many years. This can mean that emotions explode at and after the inquest process.

The inquest is there to allow the family of the deceased to know the circumstances in which a person met their death. As is often the case with the developing civil jurisdiction in this country, the culture to try to blame someone is permeating into this area. This is in fact not the purpose of an inquest at all.

The adverse publicity in this case flowing from a statement made on behalf of Thomas Cook, which whilst it may have been legally accurate, was so insensitive that it resulted in a whirlwind of adverse publicity and threatened the economic stability of the business concerned.

However, in these austere times, there is no legal aid and possibly no insurance indemnity to cover the payment of legal representation for a business deemed to be an interested party to an inquest.

The one thing that the Thomas Cook backlash shows is that you must prepare for the possibility that there could be blame apportioned towards you. In those circumstances, the cost of having specialist legal representation to respond at the inquest, in a dignified and compassionate way, could be crucial when dealing with this most sensitive of all subjects.

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