Nexa Law’s Jim Morris is a barrister with specialist expertise in representing families (as their advocate) at complex inquests.
A number of jurisdictions, including England and Wales, require an inquest following a death. In England and Wales, where a death was violent or unnatural a coroner must hold an inquest. An inquest is a public fact-finding inquiry conducted by a coroner, with or without a jury, to determine the identity of the deceased, the place and time of death and how the deceased came by his or her death.
If the inquest reveals continuing circumstances creating risks of other deaths and the coroner believes that action should be taken to prevent the occurrence or continuation of such circumstances, the coroner must report the matter (a Rule 28 Report) to a person who he believes may have the power to take such action.
Where a death is caused by accident/ negligence (that is not a criminal act), few of such fatal accident cases will go all the way to a civil trial. As such, the inquest may be the only opportunity for the families to formally question (under oath) the witnesses and experts that can provide evidence in relation to the death(s).
Although the purpose of the inquest is not to determine civil or criminal liability, questioning of witnesses by a specialist advocate can produce additional important evidence that can provide the families with a better understanding of what went wrong, which (if they are pursuing civil legal proceedings) can make a significant difference to the strength of their legal case and/ or the strategic direction of the case. In addition, the specialist questioning can also highlight to the coroner that there is a continuing risk requiring a Rule 28 Report to prevent future deaths.
Over the years that Jim has been a specialist inquest advocate, his questioning of factual and expert witnesses has benefitted families, their legal cases and has persuaded coroners to make Rule 28 reports to encouraged changes that have increased safety/ reduced the risk of deaths. Some examples of his work can be viewed by following the links below:
If you (or a family/ friend) are seeking advice in relation to an inquest, please contact us directly on:
Telephone: 020 7504 7071 ext 20