Inquests - DAC Beachcroft

Inquests

Inquests present health and social care providers with challenges on a number of fronts, including managing reputational risks to the organisation and supporting staff through what can be a very stressful experience.

Whilst the style and approach of individual coroners can vary widely, the trend towards ever wider and more complex inquests continues, with coroners taking very seriously their duty to consider whether organisations have done enough to prevent future deaths.

Coupled with this, inquests are attracting increasing scrutiny from regulatory bodies such as the CQC, HSE and the Police.  Inquests can also make good headline material for the media.  

What we do

We have a large national team of healthcare regulatory lawyers with a wealth of experience in supporting both individuals and organisations across the health and social care sector through the inquest process. We conduct hundreds of inquests each year, including complex Article 2/jury inquests involving multiple parties.

Our team's broad national coverage and excellent local knowledge of coroners' working practices enables us to offer a highly adept and practical service to both NHS and independent sector organisations. 

How we can help

We can work with you to provide however much advice and support you need in relation to inquests, including:

  • Initial scoping to explore risks, likely outcomes, level of support needed and next steps;
  • Advice on Duty of Candour thresholds and approach;
  • Internal investigation support, including assistance with quality assuring serious incident reports/action plans;
  • Assisting with witness preparation, both at operational level and at strategic level to address Prevention of Future Deaths Report risks;
  • Board-level briefings/escalation as required;
  • Attendance at pre-inquest review hearings covering issues such as inquest scope (e.g. whether there should be an Article 2 inquest), juries, witness lists and independent experts;
  • Representation at final inquest hearings, including witness support throughout and daily briefings on progress and risk to help ensure you are on the front foot with any media coverage;
  • Debrief after the inquest, including feedback into clinical governance processes to help ensure future learning;
  • Media planning, including assistance with preparing press communications;
  • Acting as Solicitor to the Inquest, assisting the coroner with the management of the inquest, including preparation of bundles, instruction of experts and dealing with witnesses and interested parties;
  • Training on all aspects of inquests, including tips on giving evidence and mock inquests.

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