Certain relatives, and other properly interested persons, are entitled by law to
ask relevant questions of any witnesses called to give evidence, or a solicitor or
barrister may ask questions for you. A coroner will not allow questions that are
not relevant and will advise witnesses that they need not to reply to questions,
if the answers may incriminate them.
Coroners will not usually provide copies of witness statements or other evidence
before an inquest and it is difficult to know what questions to ask. It is very stressful
for bereaved people to try to follow inquest hearings, ask questions and make notes.
Inquest records are not usually verbatim records and are often unsatisfactory; you
should consider legal advice and representation, particularly if criminal charges
or civil proceedings (for compensation) are likely. (Sections 20 & 21)
10 Includes parent, child, spouse, their legal representatives and representatives
of insurers, public agencies, police and potential defendants. From 1 June
2005, the interpretation of relative will include a partner in an ‘enduring