Births, marriages, deaths and nationality The inquest system

Legal representation and legal aid

Properly interested persons at an inquest are entitled to be legally represented if they choose.

At most inquests where there are no controversial issues, family members do not have a lawyer present.  They are able to ask questions themselves if they want to.

However, in more complex cases, families may decide to use a lawyer, and other properly interested persons such as the hospital where they were treated may have representation too.  The lawyers will ask questions on behalf of the party they are representing and can address the Coroner on matters of law.

Legal aid funding is not usually available for representation at inquests.  Families have to pay for legal help themselves.  The best thing to do is to speak with a firm of solicitors and take advice from them about what is possible.  At a very few inquests that are so complex it would be unmanageable if the family were unrepresented, the Coroner can request that funding is given.  Your solicitors would approach the Coroner about this for you.  Additionally, the charity AvMA operates a pro bono service, offering representation at some inquests where there are concerns about the deceased's medical treatment.

Under the new Coroners and Justice Act which was brought into practice in July 2013, interested persons are also allowed to choose a representative who is not qualified as a lawyer. 

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