Question: What Happens At An Inquest In Ireland?


What can I expect at a coroner’s inquest?

At the end of a Court hearing of all of the evidence at an Inquest the Coroner (or the jury) will record a verdict. This will relate to the identity of the Deceased person and how, where and when the death occurred. The “how” includes not only the medical cause of death but all the circumstances leading to the death.

What should I expect in an inquest?

An inquest will happen if they don’t know how your relative died or if their death was unnatural. This means you can ask questions at the inquest. If the coroner holds an inquest, there may be a jury. At the end of the inquest, the coroner or jury will give a conclusion of how they think your relative died.

How long does an inquest last?

Inquest hearings can last anything from 30 minutes to several weeks. It depends what has happened and what issues need to be explored. Most inquests take half a day or less.

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Who gives evidence at an inquest?

Coroners decide who should give evidence as witnesses at an inquest. Witnesses will first be questioned by the Coroner, and there may be further questions by ‘properly interested people’ or their legal representatives. Person’s with a ‘proper interest’ include: relatives of the deceased.

Do families attend inquest?

Children at Inquests – usually children under 18 are not allowed to be at the inquest hearing, or give evidence. In some cases the Coroner may permit this, but if you want children to attend, you should ask the Coroner’s Officer well in advance.

Can you be buried before an inquest?

Once the inquest has been held the death can be registered and the funeral can take place (although in some cases the coroner may allow the funeral to go ahead before the inquest is over).

Do I have to attend an inquest?

Inquests are held in open court. That means that any friends and family of the deceased are welcome. The Coroner will often require one particular member of the family to attend. This will be the person who made the background statement to the Police, which means it may not be the closest relative or next of kin.

Why would an inquest be held?

A coroner must hold an inquest if: the cause of death is still unknown. the person might have died a violent or unnatural death. the person might have died in prison or police custody.

What is the purpose of inquest proceedings?

An inquest is an informal and summary investigation conducted by the public prosecutor in a criminal case involving persons arrested and detained without the benefit of a warrant of arrest issued by the court for the purpose of determining whether said persons should remain under custody and correspondingly be charged

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Is there an inquest into every death?

The law says that the Coroner must open an inquest into a death if there is reasonable cause to suspect that the death was due to anything other than natural causes. There is no exact legal definition of a ‘natural’ cause of death. All other causes of death are regarded as non-natural.

Does an inquest apportion blame?

Coroners or a jury may also deliver a ‘narrative’ conclusion which sets out the facts surrounding the death in more detail. The Coroner is unable to apportion any blame or civil or criminal liability of another individual (as defined by section 10(2) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009).

Are inquest records available to the public?

An inquest is an official, public enquiry, led by the Coroner (and in some cases involving a jury) into the cause of a sudden, unexplained or violent death. All depositions, post-mortem reports and verdict records are preserved by the Coroner and made available to the public.

Can you ask questions at an inquest?

An inquest is held in public and is a formal process. Unlike a criminal court case, there is no prosecution and defence. If you are called as a witness, the Coroner may ask you to read through your statement,or may take you through the statement in court and you may be asked questions.

What does a coroner do with dead bodies?

In addition to determining cause of death, coroners are also responsible for identifying the body, notifying the next of kin, signing the death certificate, and returning any personal belongings found on the body to the family of the deceased.

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What happens if a death is referred to the coroner?

When a death is reported to the coroner, the coroner will establish who has died as well as where, when and how the death occurred. If the cause of death is unclear, the coroner will order a post-mortem. Following the post-mortem, the coroner may decide to hold an inquest into the death.

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