Inquests are a formal court hearing where evidence is heard and considered by HM Coroner. In some cases HM Coroner must sit with a jury of 7 to 11 members of the public randomly selected from the electoral roll. During the inquest, it will be determined how, when and where the person died.

During the inquest, the Coroner will hear from witnesses and consider other evidence such as post-mortem reports.

Unlike other types of court hearing, there is no prosecution or defence, and only the Coroner can decide what evidence should be heard. This is because the inquest is purely to determine the facts of the death, and not to determine criminal or civil liability.

However, if evidence suggests someone may be criminally responsible for the death, the Coroner can pass the evidence to the police or the Crown Prosecution Service.

Find out more about the inquest process.