As soon as a deceased is identified the coroner should open an inquest. This normally involves a short hearing where the name, age and very brief details of the deceased and a preliminary cause of death are read out in open court. There may be multiple inquests opened at the same time. The coroner will then adjourn the inquest for initial investigations to be conducted. Families can ask for particular issues which they believe may have contributed to the death to be considered, including where a death from Covid-19 may have been prevented.

If any criminal investigation and/or public inquiry is to take place, these are likely to happen first and the inquest will be adjourned until they conclude. In the event that a public inquiry takes place the panel may seek to discharge the coroner’s functions. Once any criminal investigation or public inquiry are completed the coroner will decide whether the inquests are necessary and should resume.