What to expect during the hearing
Hearing the evidence
There will be several witnesses at the inquest. The Coroner will call each one in turn and in most cases will take them through a statement or report that they have prepared in advance. The Coroner will ask any questions that he has. Then there will be questions from the people present in court that the Coroner considers to have a 'proper interest'.
If you, as a juror, have a question that you do not feel has been answered, you may ask it. The Coroner will give an opportunity at the end of each witness's evidence for you to do so. You will be given a notebook and you may want to write down key points, especially if it is a long case. You may also be given some documents or photos to look at.
Making your decision
Once all the evidence has been heard, the Coroner will sum up the facts to refresh your memory. He will give you a choice of conclusions that you can come to and directions on how to decide between them.
All the jurors will then go out into a separate room and discuss the evidence. The Coroner will advise you on how best to do this and how to manage if you disagree. When you have all come to a decision, one of the jurors will fill in a form stating the findings of fact and the conclusion. You will all go back into court and one of the jurors will read out the form.
Making these decisions may take some time. If it carries on over lunchtime, we will provide lunch for you (usually sandwiches, fruit and cakes). If you have any dietary requirements, please let the clerk know. If it carries on for more than one day, you will go home as normal overnight.
Once this has been done, the Coroner will make some concluding remarks and you will be free to go. It is important to keep confidential what you discussed while you were deciding your conclusion even after the case has finished.
If you have any practical needs or problems during the inquest, please let the court usher know - we are here to help. Some of the evidence at inquests can be upsetting. If you are feeling troubled during or after the inquest, we can arrange for you to speak to someone in confidence and receive support.