The inquest process

An inquest establishes who has died and how, when and where the death occurred without apportioning blame or negligence. An inquest is usually opened primarily to record that a death has occurred and to identify the dead person. 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.  Jurors and witnesses are expected to wear business wear or smart casual dress - jeans and trainers are not suitable.

Court Hours

Court usually starts at 10am - witnesses are advised to arrive at least 15 minutes earlier, and jurors will be given a specified time to attend.

The majority of inquests finish by 1pm although occasionally, an inquest may last until early evening.

Expenses

You will be provided with an expense form for the reimbursement of certain expenses (decided by the Home Office). These include:

  • travelling expenses
  • parking fees
  • loss of earnings
  • a subsistence allowance towards the cost of lunch.

The completed form should be returned to the Coroner's Office.

Parking

You should put sufficient money in the parking meter to cover up until at least 1pm. This can be topped up during the lunch break for any afternoon session. Parking fines cannot be claimed as expenses.

Lunch

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. 

Being a juror

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 did not attend. You must also be punctual at the start of each day and during inquest breaks - returning late is contempt of court.

Giving evidence

Witnesses 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. You will then give your evidence - a copy of your statement or report can be provided if requested in advance. 

Inquests at Milton Keynes' Coroner's Court are often attended by volunteers from the Coroners' Courts Support Service, a charity that gives emotional and practical support to families and other witnesses. 

Press and Media

Inquests are held in open court and the media may attend.

HM Coroners office contact

HM Coroner's Office contact information

Civic, 1 Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes MK9 3EJ