Legal representation and legal aid
Properly interested persons at an inquest are entitled to be legally represented if they choose.
At most inquests where there are no controversial issues, family members do not have a lawyer present. They are able to ask questions themselves if they wish.
Use of solicitor:
However, in more complex cases, families may choose to use a lawyer, and other properly interested persons such as the hospital where they were treated may have representation too. The lawyers will ask questions on behalf of the party they are representing and can address the Coroner on matters of law.
Legal Aid Funding:
Legal aid funding is not usually available for representation at inquests. Families have to pay for legal help themselves. The best thing to do is to speak with a firm of solicitors and take advice from them about what is possible. At a very few inquests that are so complex it would be unmanageable if the family were unrepresented and funding is sometimes available.
Not all firms of solicitors are able to take on inquest work. If you are having trouble finding solicitors to help you, please let us know and we can suggest people to contact.
Under the new Coroners and Justice Act 2009 which was brought into practice in July 2013, interested persons have the option to choose a representative who is not qualified as a lawyer. This would be a decision requiring very careful thought indeed.