What does it mean to be an inquest witness?
An inquest is usually held between six months and a year after a death has occurred (it may be earlier or more likely later than this, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic). The coroner decides who should give evidence as a witness. Some evidence is read by the coroner in court and some witnesses may be called to appear to give their witness accounts in person.
If you are called to be a witness in the Coroner’s court, you can expect the coroner to take you through your statement and ask questions related to this. The questions that may be asked relate to who has died, when, where and how they came by their death.
Advice for attending
Remember to take things with you such as glasses if you need them to read, any medication you may be on, water, change for car parks if driving. Give yourself enough time to get there, checking out the route and public transport if needed in advance to avoid any stress on the day.
When giving evidence, take your time. You are not on trial, if you are not sure about the question, ask for clarification, don’t guess and if you don’t know, then say so.
You may wish to consider taking someone along with you for support on the day. There may be support available too from the Coroner’s Court Support Service if the court you are attending is part of their service.
If you have any questions or concerns, do call the Coroner’s Court Support Service helpline – they can explain the process in detail and support you if needed. Call on 0300 111 2141 or visit their website.