No5 Chambers hosted its Annual Inquest Seminar on 20 April 2016 with the Chief Coroner delivering the keynote address.  HHJ Peter Thornton QC revealed that the Coronial service in England and Wales was significantly stretched, yet a large volume of cases was anticpated this year, including a surge of those involving a deprivation of liberty (DOLS). He also revealed his future plans to restrict the number of post mortems which were permissible in homicide cases and ensure consistency in regional pathology services.

The programme also included a presentation from Mrs Louise Hunt, Senior Coroner for Birmingham and Solihill, who discussed current issues from the Coroner’s perspective.

Guest speaker, Dr Tamas Marton, consultant perinatal pathologist from Birmingham Women’s Hospital, prompted a debate about the use of post mortem samples and human tissue obtained in the course of Inquests in medical research,  particularly with respect to studies as to the cause of fractures in babies and toddlers, whose death may have been ascribed to shaken baby or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, but where Vitamin D deficiency may have been a causative factor.

Other speakers included leading human rights lawyer, Christopher Stanley, from Kevin Winters Law firm in Belfast, who revisited Article 2 jurisprudence  on the 21st anniversary of McCann and gave an insightful talk on the conflict and inquests in Northern Ireland.

Nageena Khalique QC, Head of the Inquest group at No5 and fellow inquest specialists Philip Rule, Emma Sutton, Tim Newman and solicitor Anna Thwaites from Bindmans solicitors,  provided a comprehensive update on Coronial law and recent caselaw. This was followed by networking drinks, at which Nageena said:

“This was another thought provoking annual Inquest Seminar hosted by No5. The interactive workshop was particularly well received and provided a forum for delegates to get involved in a stimulating debate over a wide range of subjects, including organ retention, post mortems, deprivation of liberty, the development of Article 2 jurisprudence and deaths in custody.  The feedback was excellent with delegates stating that they went away “with the answers they needed” .”

Chief Coroner and Dr Tamas Marton, Nageena Khalique QC at the interactive workshop sessions : No5 Annual Inquest Seminar