Sam Stein QC
“Get a top inquests barrister on your side from day 1”
Strictly speaking, an inquest is a fact finding inquiry that is typically used to determine the exact events that led to a person’s death. They are most commonly used in cases of suspected negligence, and although the inquest hearing does not legally find a person or group guilty, the information that is uncovered during what can be a difficult and emotional process can be used in criminal and civil cases in the future.
The primary purpose of the inquest is to determine what led to a person’s death. The findings can be used to ensure that something similar does not occur in the future, and it can also answer difficult questions that family and friends of the deceased might have. The nature of these cases is such that they can be very long and drawn out, requiring the intervention and introduction of many expert and key witnesses, to help determine the facts.
For the family that have lost a loved one, an inquiry can be very challenging. Not only will there be a lot of information, a lot of which can prove highly technical, but the courts will cover the events leading up to death in great detail. As such, it can be difficult to keep track of what is asked, what is determined, and the final outcome of the inquiry. This is why legal representation can prove such an important matter.
An inquest can also be used to determine whether you should progress with civil action, in order to claim damages. If it is determined that neglect, or misconduct, led to the death of a family member then this may be a good indication that civil action would be successful. The coroner will not declare who is guilty, or if anybody has a case to answer, but inquiry findings have been used to mount these cases in the past.
Inquiries are challenging for all concerned, but they are often the only means by which family members can get answers to how their loved one died. Skilled and experienced legal representation will ensure that the right questions are asked, and that the whole truth is uncovered during the process.
© 2014 Sam Stein QC