Received the pre-inquest review meeting (Nov 25th) paperwork from the coroner’s office this morning. (Sob). Thought it would be useful to outline the process here. (This is my sloppy version. For superb information the INQUEST Handbook is your baby.)
The inquest establishes who and where, when and how they died. An inquest is held when the cause of death is unnatural or uncertain. There are bog standard inquests and article 2 (of the European Convention of Human Rights) inquests. The latter happen when there’s a question mark over state failure to protect someone’s right to life. Article 2 inquests are more in-depth and can involve a jury. Juries are required when someone dies in state ‘custody’.
The inquest isn’t about blaming people but the coroner can issue a critical verdict. Article 2 inquests can lead to narrative verdicts which expose problems or mistakes made. A rule 43 report is where the coroner writes to the relevant person/ authority who has power to take action to prevent further deaths. Getting a rule 43 report is a chunky old dent in the reputation of an organisation (basically flagging up their shiteness publicly) and should lead to action.
When things are complicated pre-inquest meetings are held to thrash out the scope of the inquest (type, how wide a focus on what happened, whether there will be a jury and what witnesses to call, etc).
Phew. Think that’s pretty much it. Some other snippets… The coroner makes all these decisions. Inquests are public events. LB’s inquest can’t happen until the police investigations have finished. Sloven will have a legal team present defending them at the taxpayers expense. We have to fund our own legal costs (around £25,000) which thanks to legendary efforts by the great British (and further afield) public we’ve pretty much raised now. This is bloody brilliant. Though so wrong.