You have the right to represent yourself or have someone advocate on your behalf at a Pre-Inquest Review Hearing (PIR) and/or Inquest.

Representing yourself should be the last resort, please ensure you have explored every avenue before making this decision.

If you have made the decision to represent yourself, you may wish to consider the following.


Your Rights



You have the right to represent yourself or have someone advocate on your behalf at the pre-inquest review and/or inquest.

- Agree and appoint one person in the family or a family friend to be spokesperson for the family.

- Inform the Coroner that you were unable to acquire legal representation and that the family have agreed to a family member/friend to be a spokesperson on behalf of the family.


You have the right to be informed when the post-mortem examination is taking place and the right to have a representative present.

You are not entitled to personally be present at a post-mortem.

You also have the right to a second post-mortem.

- Notify the Coroner that you want a representative present, only then will the Coroner notify you of the planned date, time and place of the examination.

- Find and independent pathologist and provide their details to the Coroner

- When the examination has been completed you can request the post-mortem report from the Coroner if they haven’t already provided it. However, it is quite normal for the first draft of the report to be delayed whilst they wait for the toxicology report.


You have the right to raise issues which you believe are relevant to the Coroner.

- Write to the Coroner outlining your main concern around your loved one’s treatment as early as possible. See the witness statement fact sheet.

This will help the Coroner address all the issues from the family perspective.


You have the right to request any evidence you feel is relevant to the inquest that hasn’t already been requested by the Coroner.


Law: Part 3 of the Coroner’s (Inquest) Rules 2013

- Create an action list focused on identifying all evidence available from all possible sources e.g: Meeting minutes from the discharge meeting or CCTV footage from police cell.

- Once the list is completed and it’s agreed, send a request for the evidence to the Coroner so they can request it from the Interested Persons.


You have the right to full disclosure of all the relevant documents held by the Coroner.

Statute: Part 3 of the Coroner’s (Inquest) Rules 2013

Case Law: Jordan (AP) v Lord Chancellor and another [2007] UK HL 14 para 440].

- At the earliest convenience you should request these documents from the Coroner. 

- Once received review thoroughly. Use the disclosure to narrow down the relevant issues. Look for evidence to any previous suspicions you may have had regarding foul play and/or attempts to cover up.

Note: if you received disclosure late and do not have the time to review, you can request an adjournment. 

The charity Advocate also offers to review documents in preparation for the inquest.


You have the right to suggest relevant witnesses to the coroner for the final hearing


- Write to the Coroner to ask for a list of witnesses.

- Once the Coroner has received all witness statements from IPs. Write to the Coroner and ask for a list outlining which witnesses have been asked to provide a statement or have been interviewed and which ones are they intend on calling.

- Once these are received, write to the Coroner to suggest any witnesses that you think may be relevant but has been missed by the Coroner.

During the inquest

You have the right not to be excluded from all or part of the inquest

- Ensure that the you have the date, time and location of the inquest.


You gave the right to question the witnesses

-When you receive the witness list and have reviewed their statements, write a list of questions you may want to ask them.

Note: if you do not want to ask the questions yourself, you can submit your questions prior to the inquest to the Coroner to ask on your behalf. You can also pass questions to the Coroner during the inquest.



Keep in contact with the Coroner’s Officer – they will provide you with all the practical information you require.

Arrive on time – gives you a chance to get settled in and introduce yourself to the Coroner & Coroner’s Officer.

Ask Questions – the Court knows you are not legally qualified; you are not expected to know everything. The Coroner is there to assist you.

Dress formally.

Put too much pressure on yourself – inquests can be extremely distressing.

Bring children – children under the age of 18 are not permitted to attend the hearing or give evidence.

Come alone – if you have the option to bring other family members/friends to the hearing to support you, then do so.

Talk to the media during the inquest.

Please find a list of organisation who may be able to assist on the other sources of support page and download a copy of the INQUEST Handbook for more information on the law and your rights.