Inquests, Public Inquiries and Coronial Law

Our barristers provide a highly-sensitive but robust approach to advising and representing interested parties before inquests and in public inquiries.

Our work relates to fatal accidents at work and at leisure, on the roads, in care homes, in educational settings, medical errors and mistreatment, and in cases of suicide involving both psychiatric patients and deaths in custody, as well as inquest relating to deaths caused in very unusual circumstances.

Our counsel has also been instructed in numerous inquests involving deaths of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and public inquiries, such as the Hillsborough disaster, Grenfell Inquiry, and the Infected Blood Inquiry to name but a few.

In our inquest work we are often instructed to act on behalf of charities and for the families of the deceased. Our members acted in relation to the Birmingham Bombings instructed on behalf of the families. We frequently act in Article 2 ECHR inquests, where there is an issue of state obligation to protect life and issues arise concerning acts and omissions by the state authorities.

In addition, we have practitioners with experience of representing health, police, fire and ambulance authorities, and we offer responsive, cost-effective and advice sometimes needed by coroners (and our team includes some assistant coroners).

Expertise

No5’s barristers provide representation at inquests on behalf of various parties, including bereaved relatives, statutory agencies, the Armed Forces, individuals implicated in a death, and healthcare professionals, including those who face civil and/or criminal proceedings. We have experience of acting for the Health and Safety Executive, corporate bodies and various governmental organisations and charitable bodies, as well as for individuals who find themselves in the tragic position of relying upon the inquest process to answer questions about a loved one's death.

Chambers also recognise that sometimes coroners may require specialist legal advice. We have therefore developed a specialist legal support service for coroners and have represented coroners in both High Court appeals and judicial review challenges.

Our barristers include those who sit as part-time coroners and others who have extensive public law and Judicial Review experience (in particular in relation to inquests engaging Article 2 obligations or issues as to the discharge of such obligations, or the decisions of coroners as to the proper ambit of the inquiry).

Members of the team are registered for public access and therefore welcome instructions for specific pieces of advice or representation at inquests. On occasion we may also act appointed as counsel to the inquest and ongoing through to responding to Judicial Review cases.

Recommendations

Our team includes Queen’s Counsel and leading junior counsel experienced in this area of practice and are recognised in leading legal directories for this work.

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