Inquests are an extremely emotional and trying time for families struggling to come to terms with their loss. The inquest itself may prove to be the best chance that family members have to hear their questions answered regarding the death of a loved one. It is vital for the members of the family that the inquest gets to the bottom of what happened and that the findings are properly and accurately relayed to the people involved. Many people find that having the support of a trusted lawyer both in the build-up and during the proceedings is crucial to that process.
Inquests can be long, drawn out and filled with specialist evidence from both sides that is difficult to follow for the layperson. It is often necessary to question witnesses at some length and in some detail. As an expert in advocacy and cross-examination of both lay and expert witnesses, having a barrister represent your family will be a considerable advantage when it comes to ensuring that the right questions are identified and asked throughout, particularly if witnesses give elusive or defensive answers.
It is important to remember that the inquest is not designed to determine who may be guilty of an offence or culpable for a person’s death – that is the job of the criminal or civil courts. But the inquest will help identify what happened and who did what. This can sometimes lead to further action by the police and prosecuting authorities. The inquest can help ensure that whatever events occurred that led to the death are not repeated and that similar problems and failings do not occur in the future under the same circumstances.
An inquest finding may also help determine whether or not to bring further action against a particular body or person. For example, in the case of a person that died in hospital or following treatment by a healthcare professional, the inquest should identify the actions or omissions by individuals or groups that contributed to the death, and this can be used by the family to determine whether or not to pursue a medical negligence claim or a complaint to the relevant Regulatory authority.
A barrister from 23 Essex Street can represent you before and during an inquest to help ensure that you get the answers you need, and to ensure that those responsible for the death of a loved one are held accountable.
Too often the various agencies – police, ambulance personnel, social workers etc are represented by lawyers who are funded through their professional insurers or unions while the relatives of the deceased are without any lawyer to advance their position. While it is our experience that most Coroners do their best to assist the family members in such circumstances this is not universally achieved and is not a substitute for a lawyer dedicated to advancing a position on behalf of the deceased and those close to him or her.
At 23 Essex Street we recognise that there will be many occasions when those close to the deceased need representation but may not be in a position to fund this to the same extent as other interested parties. We are sensitive to this and will do all we can in appropriate cases to provide representation that is affordable. In situations of real financial inability to pay we may be able to provide advice and some level of representation for minimal or no charge at all.
Call us today to discuss the details of your case with a sympathetic and professional member of the team.