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This briefing paper deals with the law in England and Wales.

Means of challenge

There is no right of appeal as such from an inquest. However, it is sometimes possible to challenge a coroner’s decision, or the outcome of an inquest, by way of an application under section 13 of the Coroners Act 1988, or an application for judicial review.

Anyone seeking to challenge a coroner’s decision or the outcome of an inquest should take specific legal advice as quickly as possible to establish whether there are grounds to do so, and the relevant time limit.

Proposed new system of appeal never implemented

Section 40 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 provided for a new system of appeal against some decisions and determinations made in connection with investigations and inquests into deaths. This section was never brought into effect and has now been repealed.

Complaint about conduct of coroner

It is sometimes possible to complain to the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office about the conduct of the coroner.

Ministry of Justice guide

In January 2020, the Ministry of Justice published an updated version of its Guide to Coroner Service for Bereaved People. This provides bereaved people with an explanation of the coroner investigation and inquest process as well as links to other organisations that may also provide help and advice. It includes information about challenging a coroner’s decision and making a complaint.


Documents to download

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