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When someone dies ‘a sudden or unnatural death’ or a ‘sudden death of which the cause is unknown’ the death will be reported to the coroner and an inquest may be held. Our specialist inquest solicitors’ team in Newcastle or South Shields are here to guide the deceased’s family through this process.

Inquests are a judicial inquiry held to determine the cause of death. It is presided over by a coroner who will sometimes sit with a jury.

The purpose of an inquest is to answer four questions with regard to the deceased; these include

  • who they were
  • where they died
  • how they came to die, and
  • how an individual came to die (often the most contentious aspect of an inquest).

The ranges of verdicts that are available include:

  • natural causes
  • industrial disease
  • dependence on drugs/non-dependent abuse of drugs
  • want of attention at birth
  • suicide/killed him or herself whilst the balance of his or her mind was disturbed
  • accident or misadventure
  • the disaster which is the subject of a public inquiry
  • attempted or self-induced abortion
  • lawful killing
  • unlawful killing
  • open verdict – this means that the cause of death cannot be established, and doubt remains as to how the deceased came to their death;
  • stillbirth, and
  • narrative verdict.

A narrative verdict, at an inquest, gives the jury an opportunity to expand upon its verdict, which can allow members to express opinions about the circumstances leading to the death of an individual.  Often narrative verdicts are critical of institutions where the jury feels that there were shortcomings in their procedures or actions, were relevant to the death of the individual concerned. The coroner also has the power to make recommendations to relevant authorities such as the health authority, police, or prisons, in the hope that a similar death can be avoided in the future.

Our inquest solicitors’ team has experience of representing families where death occurs in circumstances that have included death in police custody, death as a result of police action, death in prison, death while in the care of a local authority or death as a result of an industrial accident.

If you need help or advice regarding inquests, then contact our specialist inquest solicitors’ team at our Newcastle upon Tyne or South Shields offices and find out they can support you

The David Gray Inquests Team

Amy Lamb

Amy Lamb

Solicitor

Hannah Mostoufi

Hannah Mostoufi

Paralegal

Janice Hall

Janice Hall

Senior Associate Solicitor

Michael Gibson

Michael Gibson

Senior Associate Solicitor

Sophie Allinson

Sophie Allinson

Associate Solicitor

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