Inquests & Public Inquiries

The fundamental purpose of both Inquests and Public Inquiries is to get to the truth. They are often the only way for families to find answers when a loved one has died, or for professionals and other interested parties to bring forward their concerns  about  matters of great public interest.

Whatever your involvement in either an inquest or public inquiry, you will find it essential to have the right, expert legal representation to ensure that you obtain the answers you are looking for, and are able to have your voice heard and standing protected.

25 Bedford Row barristers have experience in representing both individuals and organisations when the stakes are the highest.  Our advocates are honed in the Courtroom, and have heavy experience challenging evidence in the most critical and complex of proceedings

We have extensive experience with both inquests and public inquiries, having handled some of the most complex and high-profile cases in recent years. Members of Chambers have appeared either for families or Interested Persons at

  • The Manchester Bombing Inquiry
  • The Grenfell Tower Inquiry
  • The  Pitchford ‘Covert Policing” Inquiry
  • The Dobbs Inquiry
  • Deepcut Inquests
  • The Hillsborough Inquests
  • The Steven Lawrence Inquiry

Over the years, we have built up excellent relationships with the various specialist solicitors, unions and organisations that frequently assist those preparing for an appearance at either an Inquest or an Inquiry. Members of our team also have direct access accreditation, meaning we can take instruction directly from the public where appropriate to the case.

For advice or representation relating to an inquest or public inquiry, please call 020 7067 1500 or use the contact form on the right and we will respond promptly.

Our legal representation for inquests

Members of our team cover all aspects of coronial law with members advising and representing bereaved families, individuals, statutory bodies and corporate entities in cases covering a vast range of complex legal and factual issues.

Our barristers have represented interested persons in lengthy and high-profile inquests attracting intense media scrutiny.

Inquest specialist barristers also offer expertise on the question of challenging the decision of the Coroner in the High Court and  act in judicial review proceedings arising from inquests in the Administrative Court.

Recent notable work includes:

  • The Manchester Bombings inquest
  • The Hillsborough inquests
  • The Deepcut Army Barracks inquest
  • The inquest into the death of two SAS members in the Puma Afghan helicopter crash
  • The inquest into the death of soldier Gordon Gentle in Iraq

Our legal representation for public inquiries

Our barristers have been involved in significant public inquiries, including those involving alleged failings by both corporate and statutory bodies.

Our public inquiry experience includes:

  • The Hillsborough inquiry
  • The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
  • The Pitchford Inquiry
  • The Grenfell Tower Inquiry
  • The Victoria Climbié Inquiry
  • The inquiry into the shooting of Jean Charles De Menezes
  • The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry
  • The Marchioness ferry disaster inquiry

Why should I use 25 Bedford Row for representation at an inquest or public inquiry?

Our regulatory barristers regularly advise and represent interested parties at inquests and public inquiries, with decades of experience across our team handling a wide range of the most complex and contentious cases.

We are noted by the Legal 500 for being “approachable, professional and reliable” and for our “genuine depth in numbers, expertise and legal talent”. 25 Bedford Row has also been praised by Chambers & Partners for our “client focused, high quality service” and our “reputation for excellence”.

Our barristers have appeared in many of the leading inquests of the last decade ranging from military inquests to Coronial hearings involving some of the most high-profile deaths in recent years.

John Cooper QC is the author of Inquests (published by Hart in 2011), which is considered one of the leading texts on the subject.

Inquests & Public Inquiries FAQs

What is the difference between an inquest and a public inquiry?

An inquest is an independent investigation into an unnatural death, which is carried out by a coroner. The aim is to establish who the deceased was, where and when they died, and the reason why they died. In most inquests it will only be the reason why a person died that needs to be uncovered.

An inquest will establish the cause of death, for example that it was an accident or an unlawful killing, but it cannot decide blame. If there is a question of blame, this will be for the criminal or civil courts to decide and will require separate legal action.

By contrast, a public inquiry is conducted by a judge appointed by the government. The goals of a public inquiry are set by the government, usually taking into account the questions and concerns of interested parties, including individual members of the public and organisations.

A public inquiry will usually have a much broader remit than an inquest and will typically involve looking at a much wider range of evidence. It is therefore common for proceedings to take much longer, often stretching over several years.

One other key way in which public inquiries differ from inquests is that they do have the power to assign blame.

Why do I need a barrister for an inquest?

Inquests can be complicated and intimidating, with most members of the public have no experience of what is involved. Our barristers can assist you in a variety of ways, including dealing with procedural matters, such as requests for copies of statements and other key evidence, as well as ensuring the right questions are asked and that any important points of law are clarified.

For other Interested Persons, a failure to obtain specialist advice and representation runs the risk of unjustified criticism and allegations of culpability. Our barristers are experienced in ensuring that individuals and entities rights and interests are effectively protected throughout the Coronial process.

We can also assist you if you are not happy with the outcome of the inquest, including supporting you with seeking a judicial review where appropriate.

Can an inquest award compensation?

No. Inquests by themselves have no power to assign blame to a named person or determine any question of civil or criminal liability. Wherever liability is alleged, a separate claim or prosecution will need to be brought to attempt to secure such penalties against individuals or organisations.

However, the evidence obtained in the course of an inquest (whether through disclosure, or the questioning of witnesses) is often of crucial importance to the successful resolution of such claims or prosecutions. Our barristers are expert across a spectrum of disciplines, and are always alive to the wider tactical context.

Contact our legal experts in inquests and public inquiries now

For expert advice and representation for an inquest or public inquiry, please call 020 7067 1500 or use the contact form below and we will respond promptly.

They are all well drilled and relate to clients in a sophisticated manner, they are slick and present their arguments well

Legal 500


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