The Inquest Process

The Coroner is an independent judicial officer who conducts an Inquiry into how the deceased met his/her death.

What is an inquest?

An Inquest is an Inquiry into who has died and how, when and where the death occurred. An inquest is not a Court for apportioning blame or negligence. An inquest is usually opened primarily to record that a death has occurred and to identify the dead person. A certificate for burial or cremation will also be issued. It will then be adjourned until police enquiries and the Coroner's investigations are complete, when the full inquest is resumed.

Attending an Inquest

Pagers and phones must be switched off while you are in the Court Room.

At Milton Keynes' Coroner's Court we are lucky to have volunteers from the Coroners' Courts Support Service attend our inquests. The Coroners’ Courts Support Service is a registered charity whose volunteers give emotional and practical support to families and other witnesses attending Inquests.

Court Hours

Court usually starts at 10.00am - Witnesses are advised to arrive at least 15 minutes earlier, and Jurors will be specified a time on their Confirmation of Selection letter.

The majority of inquests finish by lunch time (13.00) but if not we aim to complete by 17.00pm. Rarely an Inquest may extend to early evening.

Jurors and Witnesses


Dress Code

Business attire or smart casual dress should be worn. Jeans or trainers are not suitable attire.


You will be provided with an expense form for the reimbursement of allowed expenses at the specified Home Office Rates. These include: travelling expenses, parking fees, loss of earnings and a subsistence allowance towards the cost of Lunch. The completed form should be returned to the Coroner's Office.


You should put sufficient money in the parking meter to cover up until at least 1.00pm. This can be topped up during the lunch break for the afternoon session. Parking fines cannot be claimed as expenses.


If it is a full day Inquest, there will be a break for Lunch. Lunch is not provided, but refreshments can be bought from the adjacent Central Milton Keynes shopping centre. The cost of refreshments may be claimed as expenses.

General Guidelines

You will be required to take an Oath on the Bible or an affirmation before giving evidence. It is possible for a particular oath to be given, or other Holy Book to be used, if details are provided to the Coroner's Officer prior to the hearing. The Oath is taken standing.

  • Please speak slowly and clearly into the microphone.
  • When addressing the Coroner he will usually be referred to as "Sir"

Jury Guidelines

Serving on a Coroner's Court Jury is a civil duty. If you fail to turn up you may be in contempt of court, which carries a £3000 fine or 3 months imprisonment. The coroner may call you before the court to explain why you didn't turn up. Likewise, you must be punctual at the start of each day and during inquest breaks; returning late is contempt of court.

Giving Evidence

The Coroner's Officer will provide you with a copy of your statement or report if requested prior to the date of the inquest.

Press and Media

Inquests are held in open court and the media may attend, please see our homepage for links to inquests being held each month.

Last Updated: 4 August 2020