Please note this event is now fully booked.

This conference returns to London after a three year hiatus and will present a comprehensive guide to the practice and procedures when representing a family at an inquest. You will hear from an excellent programme of speakers, all experienced in their involvement in inquests, who will provide you with case examples to help you to put the theory into practice. You will also learn more about AvMA’s important role in representing families.

Kindly supported by:




Day One: Wednesday 26 April

Chair: Lisa O’Dwyer, Director Medico-Legal Services, Action against Medical Accidents

09:15 Registration & refreshments

10:00 Chair’s Introduction

10:05 AvMA’s Pro-Bono Inquest Service
Lisa O’Dwyer, Director Medico-Legal Services & Charlotte Connor, Medico-Legal Team Leader, Action against Medical Accidents

10:45 The Coroner’s Perspective on Healthcare Inquests
• Legislative changes
• Coroner’s training to handle healthcare inquests
Andrew Harris, Senior Coroner London Inner South & Professor of Coronial Law, Queen Marys University

11:25 Refreshments

11:40 Preparation for Inquest & Preparing for the Pre-Inquest Review
• Client care and managing the family’s expectations
• Taking the family’s evidence: What did the family witness? What were they expecting to happen? What are their concerns? Drafting the statements and giving evidence.
• Looking at funding options
• The post-mortem: Challenging the post-mortem; second post-mortem; secondary examination of tissue samples.
• What to do when the coroner doesn’t open an inquest. How practitioners might challenge the coroner’s decision to discontinue the investigation where cause of death “becomes clear before inquest”, as per Part 2, chapter 4, clause 37 Judicial Review and Courts Bill/Act.
• Things to consider in the Pre-Inquest Review:
o Scope of inquest
o Requesting witnesses
• PIR Advocacy tips for the solicitor practitioner: Being prepared and managing the PIR; How to approach the coroner; Knowing what to ask for at the PIR; essential case law – things you should know
Nina Ali, Partner, Hodge Jones & Allen; & Vanessa McKinlay, Barrister, Gatehouse Chambers & Assistant Coroner, Birmingham & Solihull

12:55 Lunch

13:40 Disclosure and Expert Evidence
• Obligations to disclose and management by coroners. How to be vigilant about this, especially as the inquest can be discontinued where cause of death becomes clear before inquest (Part 2, chapter 4, clause 37, Judicial Review and Courts Bill/Act
• Typical documents to consider on disclosure
o Medical records – what records can be asked for and which ones are required: Complaints documentation
o Other reports to consider Mortality and Morbidity Meetings (M&M meetings)
o Use of hospital policies and guidelines
o Duty of candour letters
• Serious Incident reports: SIRs – what are they and when are they used? Has one been prepared? Are they of use to the coroner or the inquest?
o Obtaining disclosure of statements used to prepare SIR – is there an obligation to disclose?
• When should a coroner appoint an independent medical expert? The art of persuasion and when to ask for a court-appointed expert.
• Instructing the expert: Considerations for the coroner’s court, not civil claim. Timing of the report. How to manage your expert evidence: Issues for consideration when disclosing expert evidence
• How to deal with causation when there is no clear cause of death
Caroline Allen, Barrister, 39 Essex Chambers

14:55 Refreshments

15:10 Findings and conclusions:
• Changes to the standard of proof following the Supreme Court decision in R (Maughan) v HM Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire [2020] UKSC 46
• Practical implications of Maughan for families in cases of suicide and unlawful killing.
• Short form and narrative conclusions: the key differences and the pros and cons of these approaches.
• Galbraith plus and the coronial filter following B50 v HM Assistant Coroner for East Riding of Yorkshire and Kingston Upon Hull [2023] EWHC 81 (Admin).
• Tips for preparing civil claims arising from inquests.
Frederick Powell, Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers

15:50 Publicly Funded Legal Representation for Bereaved People at Inquests
• What legal help covers
• Increased availability of advocacy at inquests pursuant to Judicial Review and Courts Bill/Act and subsequent amendment to S10 Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012
• Wider public interest determinations: what are these?
• How will Legal Aid Agency define public authority where a private organisation receives majority funding from public authority, e.g. NHS funded?
• Who is a family member for LAA eligibility purposes?
• Maximising your chances of an LAA being successful: What is the LAA looking for in an application for legal help & legal aid for inquests?
Kulvinder Bagri, Solicitor / Senior Case Manager, Exceptional and Complex Cases Team, Legal Aid Agency

• Crowd Justice Funding: What is it? What does it cover? How does it work for inquests?
Maeve Storey, Head of CrowdJustice

Private funding and/or CFA’s: When to use a CFA? What should the risk assessment cover?
Dominic Woodhouse, Advocate & National Training Manager, Partners in Costs

16:55 Chair’s Day One Closing Remarks, followed by Drinks Reception, kindly hosted by Gatehouse Chambers

Day Two: Thursday 27 April

Chair: Vanessa McKinlay, Barrister, Gatehouse Chambers

09:00 Registration & refreshments

09:15 Chair’s Introduction

09:20 Article 2
• How to argue Article 2 is engaged with reference to recent decisions, especially Court of Appeal decision in R (Maguire) v HM Senior Coroner Blackpool, Fylde; Parkinson v Kent Senior Coroner (2018)
• Benefits of an Article 2 inquest: Coroner’s narrative conclusions and language used
• Public body requirement Article 2: private hospitals – can an Article 2 investigation extend to a private organisation where care was funded by NHS?
• What the future might look like with new Bill of Rights – potential ramifications on Inquests
• Alternatives to Article 2
James Robottom, Barrister, Matrix Chambers

10:05 The Inquest and Subsequent Civil Claims

• When is an inquest held into a death in a clinical setting?
• Preparing the evidence
• Experts
• Potential conclusions
• What role does a coroner’s conclusion have in a civil claim?
• Recovering the costs of the inquest as part of a civil claim
Rose Harvey-Sullivan, Barrister, 7BR

10:50 Refreshments

11:10 Chair’s closing remarks, followed by lunch

This event is now fully booked.

  • April 26, 2023 - April 27, 2023
    9:00 am - 12:00 pm