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Coroners Inquests

Ben Simmonds



Here at Quality Care Group, we understand the complexities of running a care home or domiciliary care business. One area that can cause some uncertainty is coroners' inquests. This blog aims to provide our customers with a clear understanding of what inquests are, when they might occur, and how to prepare for them.

What is a coroner's inquest?

A coroner's inquest is a formal court hearing to determine the facts surrounding a death. It is not a criminal trial, and its purpose is not to apportion blame. The coroner is looking to find out who the deceased was, and where, when and how (meaning by what means) they died. However, inquests are mandatory in certain situations, including where:

  • the cause of death is still unknown
  • the person might have died a violent or unnatural death
  • the person might have died in prison or police custody
What happens during an inquest?

The coroner will lead the inquest, considering any statements issued in advance and hearing evidence from witnesses, including care staff, medical professionals, and the police. The inquest may also consider documents such as medical records and care plans. Family members of the deceased may also be present and are able to ask questions of the witnesses.

How to prepare for an inquest

While inquests can be stressful, there are steps you can take to prepare:

  • Cooperate fully with the coroner's office. Provide all requested information promptly and honestly.
  • Ensure all records are up-to-date and accurate. This includes medical records, care plans, and any incident reports.
  • Identify and brief staff who may be called as witnesses. Ensure they are familiar with the facts of the case and feel comfortable answering questions.
  • Seek legal advice if possible. A lawyer can advise you on the inquest process and represent you at the hearing. Please speak to us to find out if you have this cover included with your policy. Proper preparation for an inquest is essential to ensure your business and the circumstances of the death are represented accurately.
What to do after an inquest

Following the inquest, the coroner will issue a conclusion, which may be a short form conclusion such as:

  • Natural causes
  • Accident
  • Suicide
  • Unlawful killing (very rare)

Alternatively, a narrative conclusion may be issued which sets out the facts of the death in more detail. The coroner may also make recommendations to prevent future deaths. A prevention of future deaths report is available publicly online and can be bad PR for your business. Proper preparation for an inquest with good legal advice can help to prevent this. If a prevention of future death report is issued there are strict timescales to respond.

We are here to support our customers throughout the inquest process. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me on 01273 424904.

Additional Resources

By understanding coroners' inquests and taking steps to prepare, you can ensure a smooth process and minimise stress for yourself, your staff, and the families of the people you care for.

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