The coroner’s inquest process can be a daunting experience for care home operators and staff called to give evidence. Although it is not within a coroner’s powers to assign liability or blame, an adverse inquest conclusion can potentially give rise to civil litigation, criminal prosecution or referral to regulatory bodies (such as the CQC).
In addition, the Human Rights Act 2008 has increased the propensity towards lengthy and complex inquests and has empowered coroners to record judgmental conclusions in inquests which engage the Article 2 right to life. A finding that a death was contributed to by neglect can lead to significant reputational damage and devastate staff morale, particularly where the case has attracted media interest.
Our Healthcare Regulatory lawyers have a wealth of experience in providing legal representation at inquest to care providers, NHS trusts, GP practices and individuals called to give evidence. We can support and guide you and your staff through all aspects of the inquest process, including:
- Liaising with the coroner and other ‘interested persons’
- Reviewing evidence
- Advice on disclosure
- Drafting witness statements
- Preparation and support of witnesses
- Representation at pre-inquest review hearings, including making legal submissions on scope, Article 2, empanelling a jury, choice of witnesses, and use of independent experts
- Representation and specialist advocacy at the inquest hearing.
- Advice on the implications of a reg 28 Report to Prevent Future Deaths and appropriate action to be taken if a report is issued against your company
- Protection of individual and organisational reputations
- Handling media enquiries and preparing press statements
- Providing a post-inquest debrief including expert risk management advice to prevent such incidents happening in the future
If you require any further information, Kathryn Riddell, Mark Quigley or one of our team of healthcare specialist lawyers would be pleased to talk through your requirements and answer any questions. Please contact us at any time.