The Coroner will normally hold an inquest into any death that occurs in a prison, immigration removal centre, in the custody of the courts or secure training centre. The Coroner may also decide to hold an inquest following a death of a hostel resident. An inquest is a court hearing to find out how, when and where the death occurred. It is usually held with a jury, although some deaths by natural causes may be held without a jury. The inquest is a fact finding exercise and is not intended to apportion blame. The inquest provides an opportunity to find out what happened and to hear directly from those involved in the care of the person who has died. The Coroner and jury cannot return a finding that indicates civil liability or criminal liability of a named person.

The Ombudsman’s investigation is separate from the inquest process. However, a copy of the Ombudsman’s report is sent to the Coroner to assist with his or her enquiries. The Ombudsman has no influence over when an inquest will take place or the inquest process. For further information or advice about the inquest you should contact the Coroner’s office. If you do not have contact details for the Coroner’s office, your family liaison officer can obtain them for you.