Inquests: a practitioner's guide

Friday 3 October 2008

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This unique guide contains a wealth of tips and tactical guidance from leading practitioners in the field of inquest law. There is a digest of resources and guidelines necessary to hold public authorities to account, guidance on how to approach narrative verdicts, with supporting precedents, and practical advice and information on preliminary steps, funding, disclosure and hearings.

Full Price: £48

Edition: Second (August 2008) 736pp

'Impressively researched and clearly presented.' Lord Ramsbotham, from his foreword.

'If you have ever thought about representing a family at an inquest then this book is a must.' Independent Lawyer

'... an indispensable handbook for explaining law, procedure and practice, and placing these important tools in a human rights, campaigning and political context.' New Law Journal

There are few things as traumatic as the sudden death of a loved one. When that death occurs as a result of misconduct or negligence by a public body, the bereaved are often faced with an overwhelming desire to discover the truth as to how and why their loved one died.

The practitioner called on to represent grieving families and friends is faced with a real responsibility. Inquests: a practitioner's guide is the only text that examines practice and procedure of the coroner's court from the point of view of practitioner acting for the bereaved. It is vital in a jurisdiction with few written procedural rules.

This unique guide contains a wealth of tips and tactical guidance from leading practitioners in the field of inquest law.

Changes since the last edition include:

an analysis of the fundamental changes to coronial law made under article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights
coverage of the law and practice of narrative verdicts, with supporting precedents
a digest of resources for holding public authorities to account
substantially revised commentary on preliminary steps, funding, disclosure, evidence and juries
Covering: historical origins of modern inquests; coroners: types, staff, duties, qualifications, appointment and bias; reporting the death; jurisdiction to hold an inquest; the post-mortem; immediate action on behalf of the deceased's family; funding of representation at the inquest; conference with the advocate; interested persons; pre-inquest hearings; the hearing; the jury; the verdict; inquests and the European Convention on Human Rights; controversial deaths: special cases; post-inquest remedies and reform.

Inquests: a practitioner's guide is not just a guide to current law, practice and procedure. It lends a powerful voice to the debate for a more just, fair and effective inquest system. It contains historical detail and a comprehensive analysis of future developments that will be invaluable to all those who share the view that the coronial system is in need of fundamental reform.

Essential reading for barristers, solicitors and other advocates, coroners, campaigning organisations and public bodies.


Leslie Thomas is a barrister at Garden Court Chambers in London, specialising in civil claims against the police and public authorities. Leslie is a well-known expert in the field of inquest law and he represents bereaved families at inquests. He specialises in deaths in police or prison custody or mental institutions. He has been counsel for the families in many high-profile inquests including those touching the deaths of Wayne Douglas, James Brady, Ibrahim Sey, Michael Fitzgerald, Nathan Delahunty, Christopher Alder, Michael Ward, Martin Green, and Kurt Howard. Some of these cases have gone to the European Court of Human Rights (Douglas, Brady and Fitzgerald). Leslie regularly speaks and provides training in the area of inquests. He is an active member of the Inquest Lawyers Group and a member of the INQUEST advisory group.

Adam Straw is a barrister at Tooks Chambers in London, specialising in public, inquest, prison, mental health and discrimination law. Adam has particular experience acting for families of the bereaved at inquests, and making public law challenges to coronial decisions. Inquest cases include deaths in custody and mental health detention, police shootings and restraint deaths. He has written widely on the subject for Solicitors Journal, New Law Journal, Legal Action and the Inquest Law Journal.

Danny Friedman is a barrister at Matrix Chambers in London, specialising in civil liberties within the criminal justice system, civil actions against state organisations and public law including crime, inquests and general civil liberties-related judicial review. Danny has acted for bereaved families in a number of right to life cases both in Strasbourg and in the UK, including Keenan v UK, R (Middleton) v West Yorkshire Coroner, R (Stanley) v HM Coroner for Inner North London and R (Wright and Bennett) v Secretary of State for the Home Department. He is a contributing editor to Archbold Criminal Pleading Evidence and Practice and Human Rights Practice (both Sweet and Maxwell).

ISBN / ISSN : Pb 978 1 903307 57 1


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