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Inquest Farleys Solicitors LLP
Inquest Farleys Solicitors LLP

Inquests Following a Death in Prison

Inquest Advice Following a Death in Prison

Dealing with the death of a loved one in prison can be an intensely difficult experience, especially if you’re unable to get clear information from the authorities about the circumstances of the death.

At Farleys, our inquest team understand the immense stress this can place you under, and we’re dedicated to doing everything we can to help you get the closure you deserve. We have a wealth of experience dealing with the Prison Service, and each of our inquest solicitors has a detailed knowledge of the official procedure following a death in custody.

Drawing on our decades of experience, our expert inquest solicitors can offer you advice, assistance and – if you wish – represent you throughout the inquest proceedings.

We can also handle communication with the relevant authorities on your behalf. We’ll always start by collecting as much information as we can about the circumstances of your loved one’s death – for this, we may contact the Prison Service, the prison itself, the Probation Ombudsman, the Coroner, or all of the above. All future contact with the authorities can then be dealt with directly through us, saving you from the stress that’s often involved in keeping track of multiple lines of communication.

We’ll take care to keep you updated throughout every stage of the investigation, and make sure that you understand all the steps that we take on your behalf, as well as offering advice and assistance wherever you need it. We focus on cutting out any unnecessary legal jargon, instead explaining everything to you in clear and simple terms. For example, we can offer a detailed explanation of prison documentation (which can be notoriously difficult to understand) as well as a similar breakdown of the post-mortem report and any medical evidence. If we think you may need any independent experts to assist during the inquest, you can count on us to let you know.

At the inquest itself, we strive to ensure that you receive the appropriate representation from an experienced barrister who will look after your interests during the hearing.

The inquest team at Farleys work closely with the campaigning and support group INQUEST, who provide support to bereaved families and strive to ensure that improvements are made to the inquest system.

FAQs

How is legal advice for inquests funded?

Where a death has occurred in a prison, families can often receive legal help, which is funded by the Government's Legal Aid scheme. This covers the advice and assistance in preparation for the inquest proceedings. Further funding may be available to cover representation by a Solicitor and a barrister during the inquest itself. A member of our team will discuss this during your initial appointment and will be able to advise you if you are likely to be eligible for funding.

There are special considerations which are taken into account in respect of finances. That means that even if you’re not financially eligible for the legal help, you could still be eligible for representation at the inquest itself. This again will be discussed with you at the earliest opportunity by a member of our team.

Do you need a solicitor for an inquest?

You’re not legally required to use an inquest solicitor for an inquest, but it’s something that’s generally strongly recommended. Inquest solicitors (like our experts here at Farleys) can save you from the immense pressure and stress that would typically be involved in representing yourself at an inquest. They can be daunting experiences at the best of times, but when you’re also working through your own personal feelings of loss, they can quickly start to become overwhelming.

This is especially true for Article 2 inquests, in which there are questions surrounding the culpability of the state in someone’s death. All inquests involving a death in prison are Article 2 inquests by definition, which means that the authorities will have their own legal representation – so it’s always best to have in-depth legal expertise on your side, too.

What is an Article 2 inquest?

An Article 2 inquest is an investigation into the death of a person who was under the charge of a state institution, such as a hospital, prison, or police station. Since the state was responsible for the person at the time of their death, it automatically raises questions about its culpability. Article 2 is named for the ‘right to life’ section on the European Convention on Human Rights, and these types of investigations often have a particular focus on the circumstances in which someone died.

Article 2 inquests often involve people who have died:

• In custody or in prison
• In a psychiatric hospital
• As a result of lethal force from a police officer

If a breach of Article 2 is found to have occurred, you may be able to bring a compensation claim under the Human Rights Act.

What does an inquest solicitor do?

An experienced solicitor can assist families in a range of areas, including (but not limited to):

• Helping to secure vital evidence to initiate an inquest
• Questioning key witnesses, including not just bystanders but potentially police, paramedics, medical experts and others
• Addressing matters of law and submitting questions to the Coroner on the family’s behalf
• Arranging for a second post-mortem (if necessary)
• Dealing with the media (if applicable), such as by preparing statements
• Pursuing a civil claim if the death was found to be avoidable, and providing in-depth advice to the family on how best to proceed

Contact our Inquest Solicitors

To speak to an experienced Inquest solicitor, call Farleys on 01254606008 or email us . Our team work throughout England and Wales and will arrange an initial consultation, which will be free of charge, at your convenience.

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