Inquest service

The Law Clinic assists bereaved families before and during the inquest process. A dedicated team of students ensure that families are in a strong, informed position at the inquest hearing.

A coroner can decide to hold an inquest if someone has died in violent or unnatural circumstances. The purpose of an inquest is to establish who died, when they died, where they died, and how they died. Bereaved families will be joined to the proceedings as "interested parties", as will others who may have had contact with the deceased before they passed - such as NHS Trusts, GPs, or other organisations. Being an interested party means families have the opportunity to review the disclosed evidence, ask questions of any witnesses, and provide a view on what they consider the coroner's conclusion should be. 

The coroner will choose from a number of set conclusions, or can deliver their own narrative conclusion (a short outline on the circumstances that led to the death). The coroner also has a duty to identify where circumstances remain that leave the public at risk, and so can deliver a Preventing Future Death report (PFD) to any organisation who has control of these circumstances.
 
Legal aid is not available for support and representation at inquests, unless the coroner has determined that Article 2 is engaged. If Article 2 is engaged, then non-means-tested legal aid is available.
 
For all other inquests, the Law Clinic can provide free of charge advice on the inquest process, review evidence, help you draft your own statements, and even advocate on your behalf in court. Students are supervised by one of our supervising solicitors with extensive inquest experience.
 
Our inquest service was set up in 2019 and is one of just a handful in the UK. We were a runner-up for Best New Pro Bono Activity at the LawWorks Student Pro Bono Awards 2020. Two of our students were also shortlisted for Law Student of the Year at the Bristol Law Society Awards 2021 for the work they carried out supporting a bereaved father at a seven-day jury inquest.
 
Please contact us through our enquiry form for more information about how we can help you with an inquest.

Contact us

Email: bristol-lawclinic-enquiries@bristol.ac.uk

Voicemail: 0117 394 0082

Submit an enquiry

Being able to talk to bright and enthusiastic students, closing in on their final degree, offered us an avenue to receive quality support... Bristol Law Clinic made our difficult journey much easier. We will be eternally grateful for the time and courtesy they provided.

Inquest Service client

To be given the opportunity to advocate at a seven-day inquest was the most rewarding experience I had during my time at Bristol. To advise someone and ensure that what happened to their loved one would not happen to someone else, impacted my view on how I want to use my degree. It is an experience I will carry with me in my future career.

Eleanor Lewis (LLB 2021)
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