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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 death of Sudesh Amman on 2 February 2020

His Honour Judge Nicholas Hilliard was nominated to hold the inquest into the death of Sudesh Amman who was shot by police in February 2020. The inquest was held at the Royal Courts of Justice 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

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

HHJ Mark Lucraft QC, the Recorder of London, was responsible for holding the inquests into the deaths of the two individuals killed in Fishmongers’ Hall, and the attacker. The inquests took place at the Old Library, Guildhall. A dedicated website was set up for the inquests. All enquiries should be made to:

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

Sir John Sanders (a retired High Court Judge) 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.
dedicated website (external link, opens in a new tab) 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 or 020 7861 4856.

Inquest into the death of Yassar Yaqub on 2 January 2017

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Guy Kearl QC, was nominated to hold the inquest into the death of Yassar Yaqub in January 2017. The inquest will be held in September 2022. All enquiries should eb directed to Tom Little QC tlitte@9goughchambers.co.uk

Inquest into the death of William Smith on 1 May 2016

The Deputy Chief Coroner, HHJ Alexia Durran, was responsible for holding the inquest into the death of William Smith who was shot by police officers on 1 May 2016. The inquest concluded in December 2020.

Inquests into the death of Jamal Uddin on 18 February 2016

His Honour Judge Patrick Field QC (a serving Circuit Judge at Manchester Crown Court) was nominated to hold 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 HM Coroner’s Court, The Phoenix Centre, L/Cpl Stephen Shaw MC Way, Heywood, OL10 1LR (01706 924 815 or coroners.office@rochdale.gov.uk).

Inquests into the death of Jermaine Baker on 11 December 2015

In March 2019, His Honour Clement Goldstone QC 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 QC, in order to consider relevant sensitive information. A dedicated website has been set up which contains information about the inquiry and hearings.
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 QC, sitting as an Assistant Coroner for East London, will hold the inquests into these four deaths which took place between June 2014 and September 2015.  Inquests for two of the men were held and open verdicts recorded. In November 2017 the High Court ordered that the two inquests should be quashed and ordered fresh inquests. It was also decided that inquests for the two other deaths should be heard before the same coroner. The inquest hearing with a jury is due to commence on 5th October 2021.

dedicated website (external link, opens in a new tab) has been set up for the inquests.
All enquiries should be made to Oliver Carlyon at oliver.carlyon@fieldfisher.com

Inquests into the death of Barry Pring on 16 February 2008

His Honour Judge Paul Matthews was nominated on 31 October 2017 to hold a fresh inquest into the death of Barry Pring who died following a road traffic collision in February 2008 in Kiev, Ukraine. An inquest was held in January 2017 and a conclusion of unlawful killing was made. On 24 April 2017, by consent, the High Court quashed the inquest and ordered a fresh inquest be opened. The inquest was held in July 2021, when a narrative conclusion was recorded.
All enquiries should be made to Myfanwy Buckeridge, Solicitor to the Inquest at m.buckeridge@barcankirby.co.uk or Barcan+Kirby, 49/50 Queen Square, Bristol BS1 4LW.

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

Judge Nigel Lickley QC 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. The inquests will be held at the Royal Courts of Justice from 4 October 2021 and are expected to last three weeks.  All enquiries should be made to:

  • Tim Suter, Solicitor to the Inquests: Tim.Suter@fieldfisher.com or 0330 460 7022
  • Katherine Leslie, Solicitor to the Inquests: Katherine.Leslie@fieldfisher.com or 0330 460 6993

Update:

The Judge provided his summing up and determinations to the Inquests on Friday 5 November 2021. The written version is available to view here.