The Co-operative Funeralcare - Your Guide to a Funeral


What to do when someone dies

Inquests An Inquest is a formal court hearing which examines the circumstances of any death which is unnatural, unexplained or happened in circumstances in which the law requires there to be an Inquest, such as a death in custody or as a result of an industrial accident. Inquests differ from other courts because there is no prosecution or defence. The purpose is to investigate who has died, when, where and how they died. Most Inquests are heard in front of a Coroner who directs the hearing, but some Inquests have to be heard in front of a Coroner with a jury. One of the most important aspects to understand is that an Inquest cannot decide that any individual or company is to blame for the death. There is considerable variation in how long after a death the Inquest is held. This depends a great deal on the complexity of the circumstances to be investigated. Occasionally families choose to have legal representation at an Inquest but legal aid is very rarely available for this and lawyers are usually not necessary. Unless there is a possibility of further legal action afterwards (e.g. suing someone for negligence). After an Inquest the death is registered automatically and you can purchase death certificates from the Registrar.

Immediate concerns

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