Funding options for inquests
Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to secure public funding for inquest representation, or if that is not available we may offer representation on a “no win-no fee basis”.
What is an Article 2 inquest?
Some inquests can be held under Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) – extending their scope beyond establishing who died and how, when and where they came by their death to also consider whether the state breached its duty of care to protect the deceased’s ‘right to life’.
This could be, for example, when an individual has died in police custody or in prison, or where concerns have been raised as to whether failings by state agents, such as errors made during investigations, have contributed to their death. This was the case when we represented the families of victims of serial killer Stephen Port.
Such cases are usually subject to independent investigations, such as the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), or through Serious Incident Reports at hospital trusts, the findings of which are often explored and discussed during inquest hearings.
Whilst Coroners are not permitted to determine civil or criminal liability, the process of questioning and their final determination and conclusion can prove supportive of future legal proceedings on behalf of families, such as civil claims for damages.
Specialist Article 2 inquest solicitors
Our team at Hudgell Solicitors are highly-experienced in representing families at Article 2 inquests, many of which have resulted in significant findings and conclusions, including police forces and mental health trusts being found to have failed in their duties.
In many cases we have made successfully made submissions to Coroners on behalf of families, setting out why we consider an Article 2 inquest to be required, ensuring we are able to investigate issues which may have contributed to their loved ones’ death in much greater detail.
When Article 2 inquests are held it is quite common for state bodies and organisations to face accusations of incompetence, neglect and substandard care, as was the case when we represented the family of 17-year-old Chelsea Blue Mooney, who died after making ligatures in her room at a secure psychiatric hospital.
Those facing allegations of failings are more often than not represented at inquests by legal teams who are employed to launch a firm defence of any suggestions they have breached their duty of care, and for that reason, the role of a specialist lawyer to support families at inquests involving the state is now needed more than ever,
Helping to prevent future deaths
Coroners have a duty to publish Regulation 28 Report ‘Prevention of Future Death Reports’ in cases where they believe action should be taken to prevent similar tragedies happening in the future.
Such reports are often made at the conclusion of Article 2 inquests into police related deaths, state custody deaths, deaths following clinical and medical procedures and mental health related deaths. They often lead to significant changes in protocol, local and national learning and training, and hopefully a safer society going forward.
Such a report was issued by the Senior Coroner for North Wales, John Gittins following the inquest into the death of former Welsh Assembly Member Carl Sargeant, in which he warned there was a real risk that future deaths would occur unless action was taken by the Welsh government.
Ensuring you get the compensation you deserve
Families of Stephen Port’s victims say gross misconduct investigation into Met Police officers must be ‘full and fearless’ and have ‘complete cooperation’
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has today confirmed it is investigating five current and three former Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers for gross misconduct. It comes as part of a re-investigation into how the deaths of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor were originally handled by the force. The four […]
‘My daughter should have been in hospital, not a cell’ – Inquest hears woman who died in custody may have survived had officers called for medical help
The mother of a 43-year-old woman who died when locked in a Kent Police station cell has welcomed a jury’s conclusion that police officers’ failure to ensure she was medically assessed may have cost her life. Mother-of-four Debbie Padley had been taken to Tonbridge Police Station’s custody suite following a domestic incident at her home […]
Family of mother-of-four who died in police custody hope inquest will shed light on officers’ ‘lack of care’
The family of a 43-year-old mother who died in a Kent Police station believe a lack of professional care by officers may have contributed to her death after she was taken into custody following a domestic incident. Debbie Padley was taken to Tonbridge Police Station on the evening of 23rd July 2021 but 17 hours […]
Crucial evidence not considered in investigations into death of a pensioner killed on her mobility scooter when hit by police car
Lawyers say ‘crucial evidence’ was not considered during investigations into the death of an elderly woman who was killed when hit by a police car as she crossed a road on her mobility scooter. Jessie Whitehead, 74, died after being struck by a marked Warwickshire Police car, which had been travelling at around 65mph on […]
Coroner says mental health hospital has ‘limited concern’ of vulnerable young patients using ligatures to self-harm following death of 17-year-old girl
A Coroner investigating the circumstances leading up to the death of a 17-year-old girl who was a patient at a mental health hospital says staff have “limited concern about the number of ligature incidents” on its ward and appear to have accepted them “as normal behaviour.” Abigail Combes, coroner for South Yorkshire has ordered Cygnet […]
Mental health hospital found to provide ‘insufficient care’ and ‘inadequate observations’ following the death of a teenage girl
The family of a 17-year-old girl who ‘would do anything for anyone’ but died after making ligatures in her room at a secure psychiatric hospital say changes must be made ‘to a failing system’ to prevent other families losing children struggling with mental health. The parents of Chelsea Blue Mooney, who was classed a ‘high-risk […]
The process of inquest representation
Explained in five easy steps
Free Initial Advice
Call us, request a callback or complete our online claim form and we will assess whether we think we can help you.
Apply For Funding
We will help you to decide how best to fund your claim and let you know if Legal Aid is available.
We will obtain relevant disclosure from the Coroner and any other relevant sources.
Submissions and hearing
We will make submissions to the Coroner/Chair with our views on the appropriate conclusions based on evidence revealed.
Verdict / Findings
At the conclusion of an inquest or Public Inquiry our legal team will review the findings and any recommendations, and advise as to further possible legal action and potential civil claims.
Our client reviews
We’re always committed to getting the optimum outcome for you.
What leads to an inquest being held under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights?
In basic terms, Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights is invoked for inquests when somebody dies whose life the state knew, or should have known, was at risk, and appropriate action was not taken to protect them.
Often this relates to the death of somebody who has been held in custody, but also people who die whilst detained under the Mental Health Act for their protection.
Article 2 inquests can also be held in cases where the state or a private body may be implicated in a death, and not directly responsible.
This, for example, could be the result of an accident involving police officers, or to examine potential failings of organisations in caring for and protecting somebody known to them as being particularly vulnerable or at risk of harm.
Will the inquest be heard by a jury?
It is likely that an Article 2 inquests will be heard by a Coroner and a jury, although this is not in all cases.
An inquest must be held with a jury if a Coroner has reason to suspect the deceased died in state custody and the death was violent or unnatural, or the cause of death is unknown.
A Coroner will provide a detailed summary of the evidence heard during an inquest to the jury and direct them on the possible conclusions they can reach, dictated by law. He will ask them to see if they can reach a unanimous verdict before accepting a stated majority.
What conclusions can an inquest reach?
Aside from establishing who died, how they died, and when and where they died, a Coroner or Jury also has to reach a Conclusion about the death.
- Accidental death or misadventure.
- Alcohol or drug related
- Industrial disease.
- Lawful or Unlawful killing.
- Natural causes.
- Open verdict.
- Road traffic collision
What is a narrative conclusion and why are they used at inquests?
It is common for a Coroner to give a ‘Narrative conclusion’ in Article 2 inquests as this gives them the opportunity to give a more descriptive conclusion and highlight factual findings, particularly if there is evidence of serious failings.
Such conclusions can often include references to inadequate and unsuitable processes, actions and failings, highlighting areas of concern and for future improvement. Such conclusions can often be supportive of potential civil claims on behalf of our clients.
Meet our inquest lawyers
Local lawyers at the heart of your community
Expertise. Trust. Authority
Trying to come to terms with the sudden loss of a loved one can be a deeply distressing experience, especially when the exact circumstances of their death are unknown or unclear. In many circumstances, particularly inquests involving public institutions including the police, NHS, or prison service, legal representation is the best way to ensure you […]