What role do relatives have?
The close relatives of the person who has died have a special status in coronial law. They are known as properly interested persons (PIPs) and have the right to become involved in the inquest in certain ways.
A deceased person's husband, wife, civil partner, parent or child is automatically a PIP. The Coroner will also usually regard brothers, sisters and long-term partners as PIPs. If the next of kin is a more distant relative such as a grandchild, the Coroner will usually grant them PIP status as well.
PIPs are given pre-inquest disclosure. Before the inquest hearing, we send a copy of all the reports and statements to our contact person from the family. This can help to prepare for the hearing.
At the hearing, PIPs are allowed to ask questions of the witnesses. The Coroner will let them know when the right time comes to do this. First the witness will go through their statement or report, then the Coroner will ask their questions and finally they will give PIPs the opportunity to ask theirs.
PIPs have the right to be legally represented if they choose.
After the inquest, PIPs can get copies of the reports and statements if they did not obtain them beforehand. They can also ask for a copy of the audio recording of the hearing.
Other people present at the inquest may also be granted PIP status for different reasons. This means they also have these rights.