If an inquest is to take place it will usually be set in motion very soon after a death has occurred. The person’s identity will be formally recorded and then the inquest will be adjourned so that investigations can take place.

The length of time that then elapses before the full inquest is held can vary. It can be many months or a year or more after the death before the inquest is re-opened. During this time the Coroner’s Officer will investigate and when the Coroner decides that there is enough evidence to answer those four questions (who? what? where? and how?) the Coroner will call a “Pre-Inquest Hearing”.

At the pre-inquest hearing, to which all interested parties will be invited, the Coroner will decide, after hearing the view of each party; the following issues:

  • Which witnesses will be needed at the Inquest
  • What evidence will be discussed
  • Amount of time the inquest is likely to take

A date will then be set for the inquest to take place which will depend on the backlog of cases at that time and the Coroner’s availability.