The coroner will decide who is to be called to give evidence at an inquest and you
can ask for a list of the witnesses to be called. If you feel that someone who can
give relevant information about the death is not to be called, you should ask the
coroner to call that person. A coroner can refuse, but could be challenged later
for failing to make sufficient inquiry into the circumstances of a death. (Section
If you are not a witness, you do not have to attend an inquest, but you should consider
carefully before deciding not to do so. Although it is a very upsetting and difficult
experience, it may be your only opportunity to find out how your relative died. Anyone
can attend an inquest and this means that relatives and friends of someone who may
later be blamed for the death can be present.
Journalists are usually present and after the hearing may ask for your comments,
which can be published. You should consider very carefully whether you wish to say
anything. If further court hearings are likely, you and your family should avoid
making any comments at all; a prosecution or compensation claim can fail if inappropriate
comments are made before all court hearings are over.