"The government says that inquests are non-adversarial, so families don't need legal representation. But that is not the experience of families, who can be faced by several different legal teams when they themselves have nothing. It's a ridiculous system which isn't fit for purpose."

- Dr Rebecca Montacute, founder of Julie’s Mental Health Foundation, and daughter of Julie.

Despite the ongoing parliamentary turmoil and political instability, we have been working hard with families and lawyers to keep #LegalAidforInquests firmly on the agenda.

Earlier this week, BBC Radio 4’s File on 4 examined the challenges faced by families at inquests. Families versus the state: An unfair fight? is now available as a podcast.

File on 4 interviewed INQUEST’s Deborah Coles alongside others including Rebecca Montacute, Ann Power, and Merry Varney of Leigh Day solicitors.

The programme uncovered figures (released by Julie’s Mental Health Foundation & INQUEST) showing that half of NHS mental health trusts in England spent over £4m representing themselves at inquests in one year – 34 times the total amount granted in legal aid towards families’ representation (£118k). Read more.

We need your help

Listen and share 

Families versus the state’ on BBC Sounds now.


and share the petition and help us reach 100,000 signitures. If you are on social media, you can show your support for the campaign using the hashtag #LegalAidforInquests.


to INQUEST and support our campaign and wider work.

Removing the barriers to accessing legal representation will create a fairer and more just inquest system and protect lives. INQUEST and the families we work alongside refuse to be silenced. We will not give up until the government reforms the system to ensure fair public funding for families' legal representation at inquests.

Further coverage: 

BBC Online, Becky Montacute: ‘I struggled to do my mum justice at her inquest’

The Guardian: UK democracy at a low point, bishop tells judges

Express & Star: Families face shocking injustice over legal aid for inquests, campaigners say

Law Gazette: Mental health trusts spent £4m on representation at inquests