Inquest and Coroners
Role of Coroners
A Coroner looks into unusual or violent deaths and considers the circumstances of the death, the circumstances include: death by industrial disease, in police or prison custody, during an operation or if the deceased has not been ill prior to the death. This is why they must be a trained solicitor or doctor. A Coroner is an independent judicial office-holder which is paid by the local authority, their inquest are at a county court level in the hierarchy though if appealed it will be taken to high court. A coroner cannot determine criminal liability, this means he cannot decided who killed the deceased. He or she can only look into how a person died not why they died. For liability, the case will be in civil or criminal courts. In this case the coroner’s report may be referred to however.
An inquest is not a trial though it is held in a court; there is no prosecution or defence like civil or criminal courts. The purpose of an inquest is fact finding, establishing facts of the death and the circumstances like: who has died, when, where and how?
The inquest is open to the public which means people from the public and hear the case.
An inquest is normally held soon after the passing of the deceased to identify the person and record how the death has occurred. After the inquest is completed the coroner will issue authority for the body to be buried or cremated.
When a death occurs the body does not belong to the family, in fact it “belongs” to the state for investigations to be carried out in the inquest. After the inquest has happened it can be adjourned so other investigations can be carried out by the Coroner. Coroners can usually take between 3 and 9 months to conclude their work; some cases may take longer if the investigation is complicated.
For all practical and legal advice following the death of a loved one please contact the fatal accident claim solicitors who are here to help you every step of the way. We can help you at any inquest to get to the facts of the cause of death which ultimately will also help to establish any compensation claim for the close family who are grieving and were financially dependent upon the deceased.
Posted: April 29, 2014 at 2:57 pm