Judge-led inquests

Under Schedule 10 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, if requested by the Chief Coroner, the Lord Chief Justice, in consultation with the Lord Chancellor, may nominate a judge to conduct an inquest.

The Chief Coroner will make such a request for a variety of reasons, including if the case is particularly sensitive, or contains sensitive material, or is of particular national or public importance.

In some cases, a local authority will invite the Chief Coroner and the Lord Chancellor to consent to the appointment of a judge as an Assistant Coroner for an area so that the judge can deal with an inquest or inquests. As with nominations under schedule 10 (above), the Chief Coroner and Lord Chancellor will consider such applications for consent in a variety of situations, including if a case is particularly sensitive, or contains sensitive material, or is of particular national or public importance.

Some of the most high-profile cases:

Inquest into the deaths of James Furlong, Joseph Ritchie-Bennett and David Wails

HH Martyn Zeidman has been appointed as Judge Coroner to conduct the inquest into the deaths of James Furlong, Joseph Ritchie-Bennett and David Wailsat Forbury Gardens in Reading on 20 June 2020.

The inquest, which was formally opened on 29 July 2020, was adjourned to allow for the police and criminal investigation and prosecution to be conducted. Following the conclusion of those proceedings the Judge Coroner, HH Martyn Zeidman KC, has decided that there is sufficient reason to resume the coronial investigations. The first pre-inquest hearing took place on 12th January 2023.

Any queries in relation to this matter should be directed to James Wilson at TLT Solicitors who acts as Solicitor to the Inquest. Please contact James on James.Wilson@TLTsolicitors.com or on 07971979728.

Inquest into the death of Sudesh Amman on 2 February 2020

HHJ Nicholas Hilliard was nominated to hold the inquest into the death of Sudesh Amman who was shot by police in February 2020. The inquest concluded in August 2021. All enquiries should be made to: Tim Suter on Tim.Suter@fieldfisher.com

Inquests into the deaths arising from the Fishmongers’ Hall and London Bridge terror attack of 29 November 2019

HHJ Mark Lucraft KC, the Recorder of London, was responsible for holding the inquests into the deaths of the two individuals killed in Fishmongers’ Hall, and the attacker. All enquiries should be made to:

Inquest into the death of Dawn Sturgess on 8 July 2018

The Rt Hon Lord Hughes of Ombersley will chair the Public Inquiry into the death of Dawn Sturgess who died on the 8 July 2018 following exposure to the nerve agent Novichok. All enquiries should be made to: info@dawnsturgess.independent-inquiry.uk

Inquests into the deaths arising from the Manchester Arena terror attack of 22 May 2017

Sir John Sanders was nominated to hold inquests into the deaths of the 22 individuals killed at the Manchester Arena, and the attacker. On 22 October 2019 it was determined that the inquests would become a Public Inquiry with Sir John Saunders as the Chairman. A dedicated website (external link) has been set up for the inquiry, which contains information about the inquiry, previous hearings and includes links to the agendas. All enquiries should be made to Tim Suter, Solicitor to the Inquiry at timsuter@fieldfisher.com.

Inquest into the death of Yassar Yaqub on 2 January 2017

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Guy Kearl KC, was nominated to hold the inquest into the death of Yassar Yaqub in January 2017. All enquiries should be directed to Tom Little KC tlitte@9goughchambers.co.uk

Inquest into the death of Jamal Uddin on 18 February 2016

The Chief Coroner of England and Wales, HHJ Thomas Teague KC is holding the inquest into the death of Jalal Uddin, a 71-year-old man originally from Bangladesh. All enquiries in connection with the inquest should be made to coroners.office@rochdale.gov.uk.

Inquest into the death of Jermaine Baker on 11 December 2015

In March 2019, His Honour Clement Goldstone KC was nominated to hold an inquest into the death of Jermaine Baker who was shot by armed police close to Wood Green Crown Court. On February 13 2020, the Home Secretary announced that a Public Inquiry would be set up under the Chairmanship of His Honour Clement Goldstone KC, in order to consider relevant sensitive information. Read the report (external pdf).  All enquiries should be made to Abi Scholefield, Solicitor to the Inquiry on Abigail.scholefield@fieldfisher.com or 0161 200 1782.

Inquests into the deaths of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor

Stephen Port was convicted of the murders of Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor. Her Honour Judge Sarah Munro KC, sitting as an Assistant Coroner for East London, held the inquests into these four deaths which took place between June 2014 and September 2015. All enquiries should be made to Oliver Carlyon at oliver.carlyon@fieldfisher.com

Inquests into the deaths arising from the sinking of the French vessel Bugaled Breizh in January 2004

Judge Nigel Lickley KC has been nominated to the hold inquests into the deaths of Yves Marie Gloaguen and Pascal le Floch who died following the sinking of the French vessel Bugaled Breizh on 15 January 2004 off the coast of Cornwall in England. Judge Lickley KC provided his summing up and findings. All enquiries should be made to:

Inquest into the death of Sabina Rizvi on 20 March 2003

HHJ Angela Rafferty KC has been nominated to hold the inquest into the death of Sabina Rizvi on 20 March 2003. All enquiries should be made to: admin.coroner@croydon.gov.uk