"…an organisation that shines a light into the state’s darkest corners, often on behalf of society’s most vulnerable people." - 'In praise of...INQUEST' editorial in The Guardian

INQUEST is the only charity providing expertise on state related deaths and their investigation to bereaved people, lawyers, advice and support agencies, the media and parliamentarians. Our specialist casework includes deaths in police and prison custody, immigration detention, mental health settings and deaths involving multi-agency failings or where wider issues of state and corporate accountability are in question. This includes work around the Hillsborough football disaster and the Grenfell Tower fire.

INQUEST’s policy, parliamentary, campaigning and media work is grounded in the day to day experience of working with bereaved people. Employing an integrated model, this brings together casework support, family participation, identification of thematic trends, statistics and analysis that feeds into the organisation’s work on campaigning, information sharing and policy and parliamentary work. At the heart of this unique model are the experiences and needs of bereaved people. This integrated approach is crucial to families, not only in making sure their voices are heard and holding the state to account for individual deaths, but also in changing policy and practice to prevent future deaths.

We are entirely independent of government. Founded in 1981, we campaign alongside families and others to access the truth, hold those responsible to account and effect meaningful change to prevent future deaths.

SPECIALIST CASEWORK: We work directly with bereaved people, empowering them through the post-death processes of investigation and inquest to establish the truth about a death in the care of the state.

CAMPAIGNING: We use the direct evidence from our casework, alongside statistics and rigorous research, to exert pressure on public bodies and government and drive systemic change.

SHARING KNOWLEDGE: We are the only organisation with a comprehensive overview of deaths in custody and detention. We use our expertise and statistics to track patterns and trends and situate deaths in their broader social and political context.

SOCIAL JUSTICE: We work to improve the investigation and inquest process for all. We campaign for non means-tested public funding for families in state-related inquests and stronger post-death investigations. We lobby to ensure that government, state and corporate bodies are held to account and that action is taken in response to systemic failings.

Our annual report and accounts are available to download here

Our specialist focus

As detailed in our strategic plan, between 2018 and 2021 our priority areas of work are:

Access to justice for families –equality of arms through developing a system which treats bereaved families with dignity and respect and supports them in navigating the legal process following a death and to achieve the truth;

Visibility with respect to all systems of care and detention – so that failures are exposed and changes can be made;

An end to all institutionalised forms of racism and discrimination – too often a root cause of system failure, individual neglect or violence; these must be recognised and addressed;

Accountability for institutional failings and failure to act – effective sanctions and ‘accountable learning’, so that real and relevant action is taken to reduce the number of deaths in future.


Our values

We work to empower bereaved people, who are often excluded from exercising their legal rights, and to ensure that their collective experience is heard by policymakers, parliamentarians and the wider public.

We are committed to challenging racism and discrimination in all areas of our work and have raised concerns about the systemic discrimination, inequality and poverty behind many deaths in custody and state care.

Our way of working is collaborative and we are non-judgemental in relation to the background or actions of an individual who has died.

Our Impact

Our Impact Report, Evidencing Truth to Power, The Work and Impact of INQUEST - 2016 to 2018 was published in May 2019 and is available here.

The report outlines the key activities and the impact of our work in a period that has been a truly momentous time for INQUEST and the families we work with, with a policy landscape presenting formidable opportunities in the pursuit of our campaigning and advocacy aims.