If you do not want to come to court
If you have been called to court but do not wish to attend, you may ask to be excused.
Request to be excused from court:
Please contact the office in writing, either by post or email, and explain your reasons. These will need to be serious as the Coroner expects people to put court attendance ahead of almost all other commitments. If there is a colleague or another family member who has the relevant information and is willing to attend in your place, you can put their name forward.
If you are asking to be excused on medical grounds, you will need to provide a letter from your doctor, specifically saying that you are not fit to attend court. This is different from a normal work sick note; a person may be able to come to court even if they cannot perform their work duties.
The Coroner will then consider your request and make a decision. We will inform you of the outcome straight away, usually by telephone.
Concerns about attending?
Some people have concerns about coming to court that we can help to relieve. If you are worried about the emotional impact of attending, please talk to us, as we may be able to put your mind at rest about exactly what will happen. If you are concerned about coming into contact with another family member or witness, again let us know. We have procedures in place to keep you separate and safe.
We suggest that witnesses from the family in particular think carefully before asking to be excused. Some relatives have later told us that they regretted not coming to take the opportunity to ask questions. Please feel free to talk it through with us so you can make an informed decision.
If the Coroner decides you cannot be excused, you must attend court. This is especially important if you have received a formal summons, as the Coroner can have you brought to court by the Police if you fail to attend.