When called to a Coroner’s court

Dr Gabrielle Pendlebury follows last month’s advice on how to prepare for an inquest by looking at the different ways you could be involved in an inquest hearing and what to expect on the day

Pre-Inquest Review Hearings: How they differ to an inquest

In complex cases, the Coroner may hold a Pre-Inquest Review Hearing (PIRH) with interested persons to decide on the scope of the investigation, identify witnesses and to plan the inquest date and duration.

Pre-inquest review hearings were formally legislated for in the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (Rule 6) and came into force in 2013.

The purpose is to assist in the management of the inquest itself; this is particularly useful in complex cases. The Coroner would normally alert you to a PIRH. This can sometimes be at very short notice, so it is good to alert your defence body as early as possible if you have been notified of an inquest, as they can then liaise directly with the Coroner and try to reduce the risk of a ‘surprise’ PIRH at short notice.  

At the PIRH, the Coroner will want to determine: