Inquests and Inquiries

Companies, institutions, individual employees, national and local government bodies, as well as those, and the families of those, affected by the events under inquiry, all turn to members of Six Pump Court to ensure that their positions are advanced in the most effective way possible at Coroners’ Inquests and other inquiries, be those formal public inquiries under the Inquiries Act 2005 or informal or internal inquiries without that statutory backing. At every level of call from the silks to the juniors, we are familiar with the procedural and substantive issues which arise in such arenas. Our clients rightly increasingly recognise that there are potentially adverse implications for interested persons, both organisations and individuals, of not engaging with the inquisitorial process through strategic, expert and well-prepared representation.

Increasingly, clients look to us to help shape in advance, and respond to once made, Coroners’ Preventing Future Deaths Reports and the various formal and informal recommendations which the inquisitorial process can generate.

Members of Six Pump Court are also able to contest unsatisfactory decisions, whether during or at the conclusions of Inquests and other inquiries, whether by judicial review or the other means of challenge sometimes available: for more details of our Public Law work click here.

Six Pump Court’s well recognised grounding in all aspects of regulation, in particular health & safety, consumer and environmental, enables us fully to understand and represent clients’ positions as to the background subject matter, however wide-ranging that might be. Very often Health and Safety cases involve fatalities. In such cases members of Chambers frequently act both at the Inquest and in any criminal proceedings. We thus boast considerable experience of construction accidents, workplace transport incidents, electrocutions and other industrial fatalities. We also have extensive experience of more high profile or unusual types of Inquest and Inquiry, including:


• Major Explosions
o the Humber Oil Refinery Explosion
o the Lindsey Oil Refinery Explosion
o the Buncefield Explosion

• Railway/Transport Fatalities
o the Potters Bar Rail Crash
o acting for Alstom/Carillion/TSO in two separate railway fatalities
o double fatality from exploding locomotive in HS1 Tunnel.
o M5 ‘fireworks’ multiple fatality crash

• Deaths In Custody/Involving Police Action
o   Police pursuit deaths, including the M20/M26 police pursuit multiple fatality
o   police shootings and restraint deaths
o   Mubenga deportation-restraint at Heathrow
o   Hasanovic: murder of wife by husband following CPS decision not to pursue earlier domestic violence allegations – defence of CPS policy position
o   medication fatal overdose under arrest
o   cancer in a prisoner not diagnosed early enough to prevent death
o   suicide of a prisoner with known mental health issues

• Mental Health/Vulnerable Victims
o suicide of a hospital patient with known mental health issues
o death from hypothermia of person observed to be in extremis
o teacher allegedly driven to suicide
o death by choking of a care home resident on a soft diet but given solid food

• Legionella and other Medical Issues
o the Barrow-in-Furness Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak
o the Basildon Hospital legionella deaths (Members of Chambers acting for two separate and potentially opposed interested persons)
o acting for producer of medical devices alleged to have contributed to hospital patient’s death

• Education/Training
o army recruit falling through barracks roof

• Leisure/Sports/Crowd Control
o the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster
o quarry quad-biking death
o botched leisure centre operation

• Drownings
o public swimming pool drowning of 8 year old girl (Members of Chambers acting for two separate and potentially opposed interested persons)
o river drowning of 12 year old boy
o fall through ice into a frozen lake at site of World Darts Championships

• ‘Missing Body’ cases
o Lee Sheppard (who disappeared without trace at a recycling plant)