An inquest is a public court hearing to establish who has died, and how, when and where the death happened. A coroner must hold an inquest if it was not possible to find the cause of death from the post-mortem examination, or if the death was sudden. Therefore, there is always an inquest when someone may have died by suicide.
The inquest may be held with a jury, depending on the circumstances of the death but it is important to know that it is not a trial and its purpose is to discover the facts of the death, not to apportion blame. No one can be ‘found guilty’ and no one will be ‘blamed’ for the death.
The main inquest hearing should normally take place within six months or as soon as is practical after the death has been reported to the coroner. Some cases are more complex and the wait is longer. The inquest will be held locally to where the person died, rather than where they lived.
The inquest process may feel quite complicated, so we have put together a page for further reading, which we hope explains what might happen, and why. You can also ask for support from your coroner’s office, from the Coroner’s Court Support Service, and from any organisation you may be in contact with you.