Jonathan Wheeler reflects on the necessity for legal aid for bereaved families at inquests

When our justice system enquires into the cause of death of a loved one, what should we expect? Surely a system that is decent and even-handed, supportive of the bereaved and cognisant of their emotional state and vulnerabilities. Where the death is suspicious and the state itself is implicated, the investigation must be scrupulously fair and seen to be so - but that is not always the case in our coroners’ courts today.

The problem

Where the state has questions to answer at an inquest – maybe where someone has died in the custody of the police, or in prison, or detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 – it will inevitably instruct lawyers to represent its interests, all paid by the tax...

Jonathan Wheeler
Managing Partner
Bolt Burdon Kemp

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