We discussed this case in a previous blog highlighting the difficulties in securing exceptional funding for Inquest representation. Robert Shepherd, 6 years old and Christianne Shepherd, 7 years old of Horbury, West Yorkshire were tragically killed by fumes from a faulty boiler in Corfu in 2006. Their parents were refused funding for representation at the Inquest into their death on the basis that the Legal Aid Agency believes legal representation was not required for the Inquest.

The family met with David Cameron after being refused funding and we are pleased to report that they have now been granted exceptional case funding.

There is an overwhelming public interest argument in this case and it is important that these issues are addressed at the Inquest to avoid this happening again.

Legal Aid Minister Shailesh Vara said, “this is a very tragic case in which 2 young children lost their lives and my deepest sympathies are with the family, with whom the Prime Minister and I recently met. Questions remain unanswered and I have therefore authorised Legal Aid for representation at the Inquest to hopefully provide much needed answers”.

A full Inquest is due to take place next year.

This case highlights the significant difficulties families face in securing funding for legal representation at an Inquest into the death of their loved one. This can have wider implications for families who find themselves in an overwhelming position where they are not adequately equipped to deal with the Inquest process alone nor skilfully question witnesses to find the answers to the many questions they have. In the majority of cases, large organisations and public bodies will be legally represented which can, if they are not represented, leave families at a disadvantage.

The Inquest arena should be a level playing field and from our experience the majority, if not all, Coroners understand and appreciate the importance of legal representation.

If you are in the unfortunate position of having to deal with an Inquest and are concerned about how you are going to fund legal representation, please contact us. Our team of Inquest Solicitors can give you advice and assistance in relation to funding. Our team have extensive experience in applying for exceptional case funding from the Legal Aid Agency and regularly appeal and judicially review refusals of funding.

We are also able to offer a fixed fee for representation in the event that funding for an inquest cannot be secured. Here at Farleys we will endeavour to ensure that all avenues are exhausted to make the Inquest process as easy as possible.

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