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Inquests & Public Inquiries

Members often act for interested parties and core participants in the highest profile inquests and public inquiries.

Chambers’ strengths in Regulatory Law (including Health & Safety; fire safety; food safety; maritime safety; and public services such as emergency services, social care, and prisons), Personal Injury, Industrial Disease, Product Liability, and Clinical Negligence mean that members have experience of inquests and public inquiries across a very broad range of contexts. Examples include:

  • Accidents in a wide variety of workplaces including construction sites, factories, industrial premises and quarries
  • Deaths involving allegations of substandard medical care in hospitals and in the community
  • Deaths in residential and nursing homes
  • Deaths following exposure to harmful substances including asbestos and carbon monoxide
  • Product safety issues
  • Incidents at recreation facilities, including swimming pools and leisure centres
  • Deaths at schools and nurseries
  • Explosions
  • Electrocutions
  • Deaths caused by fires, including deaths of firefighters
  • Crowd control, and crushing injuries at large scale events
  • Suicide / self-harm incidents, including those in institutional settings
  • Terrorist incidents
  • Incidents involving the Armed Forces
  • Incidents involving emergency services, including police pursuits and emergency medical responses
  • Deaths in custody, including homicides committed by prisoners
  • Aviation incidents
  • Incidents at sea
  • Road traffic collisions

Members’ experience of both civil and criminal litigation means that they are often instructed in civil claims and/or criminal prosecutions arising out of events that result in inquests or public inquiries. Members are frequently instructed to advise and represent clients from immediately after such an event until the conclusion of all relevant proceedings.

Members also have experience of advising clients in relation to investigations by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (“RAIB”) and the Maritime Accident Investigation Branch (“MAIB”).

Public inquiries in which members have been instructed include:

  • Grenfell Tower Inquiry
  • COVID Inquiry
  • Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry
  • Cranston Inquiry into small boat Channel crossings
  • Infected Blood Inquiry
  • Hutton Inquiry
  • Shipman Inquiry
  • Mubarek Inquiry
  • BSE Inquiry
  • Rosemary Nelson Inquiry
  • Billy Wright Inquiry

High-profile inquests of national significance in which members have been instructed include:

  • The Forbury Gardens Terror Attack inquests
  • The Bournemouth Beach drowning inquests
  • The Hillsborough inquests
  • The Lakanal House fire inquest
  • The inquests into the 2013 terror attack on the BP oil refinery at In Amenas, Algeria
  • The 7 July 2007 Terror Attack inquests

Other recent significant inquests in which members have been instructed include:

  • The inquest into the death of Stephen Dymond, a participant on the Jeremy Kyle show who took his life 6 days after filming and whose death acted as the catalyst for the cancellation of the show.  (BBC News)
  • The inquest into the death of Awabb Ishak, a two-year-old child living in a social housing one-bedroom flat who died as a result of a respiratory condition due to mould exposure. The case prompted a change in the law. (BBC News)
  • The inquest into the death of Adrian Underwood, a security contractor on a commercial vessel who was killed by drone strike from Yemen. (The Independent) 
  • The inquest into the death of Emily Lewis, a teenager who died as a result of a crash during a ‘thrill’ speed boat ride. (The Guardian)
  • The inquest into the death of Alexis Adshead, the first post-pandemic inquest to conclude that the Covid-19 was an ‘industrial disease’.
  • The inquest into the death of Kim Harrison, a homicide involving the escape of a psychiatric patient from a secure ward. (The Guardian)
  • The inquest into the death of Jack Barnes, one of the first inquests to apply the balance of probabilities test for unlawful killing. (The Manchester Evening News)
  • The inquests into the deaths of Raneem Oudeh and Khanola Saleem, a case of unlawful killing concerned with police failures regarding the treatment of domestic abuse. (BBC News)


Inquests & Public Inquiries Contact

Toby Sparrow

Toby Sparrow

T +44 (0)20 7797 6174

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