An inquest is a legal inquiry into the medical cause and circumstances of a death. It is held in public – sometimes with a jury – by a coroner, in cases where the death was violent or unnatural, took place in prison or police custody or when the cause of death is still uncertain after a post-mortem.
- After an accident or injury
- Following an industrial accident
- During a surgical operation
- Before recovery from an anaesthetic
- If the cause of death is unknown
- If the death was violent or unnatural - for example, suicide, accident or drug or alcohol overdose
- If the death was sudden and unexplained - for instance, a sudden infant death (cot death)
Last reviewed May 2016.