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FAQs


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What is the purpose of an inquest?
Coroners are independent judicial officers who work within a legal framework established by Act of Parliament. A Coroner's inquest is a process for investigating the factual circumstances of a death. It is a fact-finding inquiry to establish the answers to:

The proceedings and evidence are aimed solely at ascertaining the answers to these questions. Expressions of opinion on any other matter - for example, determining criminal or civil liability - are not allowed. However, the Coroner does have the power to investigate not just the main cause of death, but also "any acts or omissions which directly led to the cause of death". More information on the role of a Coroner.


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Why has it taken so long for the inquests to be dealt with?
The Inquests were adjourned pending criminal proceedings which involved both a trial and re-trial. Once those proceedings had been concluded and after hearing submissions from potentially interested persons, the Coroner decided that the Inquests should be resumed.


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Why has Lady Justice Hallett been appointed as Coroner?
Because of the exceptional circumstances of the July 7 bombings it was thought sensible to have a very senior judge to conduct the Inquests. Lady Justice Hallett is a Judge of the Court of Appeal, with wide ranging experience across the civil and criminal jurisdictions, particularly in fact-finding jury trials. She was recommended for the role of conducting these Inquests by the Lord Chief Justice of England Wales.


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Will Lady Justice Hallett continue to sit in the Court of Appeal?
Lady Justice Hallett will be absent from the Court of Appeal for the duration of the proceedings.


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When did the Inquests start?
The inquests resumed on Monday 11 October 2010.


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Where are the hearings being held?
The Inquests will be held at the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London, WC2A 2LL.


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Do the media have access?
Yes. However, space in the courtroom is limited and priority is given to Interested Persons.

Arrangements have been made to provide greater press and public access to proceedings through the provision of a court annex with audio and visual links to the court room.

Those attending the Inquests should note that the courtroom is subject to the same restrictions as would apply to normal court proceedings. When the court is sitting the use of mobile telephones, other communications or recording equipment, cameras and personal stereos is strictly prohibited. Smoking, eating and drinking is also restricted to designated areas within the Royal Courts of Justice complex.

Further information for the media


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Do the public have access?
Yes; the number of Interested Persons in these proceedings means that seating in the court room is limited and priority is given to those participating in the Inquests. Arrangements have therefore been made to provide public access to the proceedings through the provision of a court annex with audio and visual links to the court room.

On the days when there are hearings relating to the Inquests members of the public should enter the Royal Courts of Justice via the Bell Yard North entrance. The gates will open approximately 30 minutes before the hearing begins.

Those attending the Inquests should note that the court is subject to the same restrictions as would apply to normal court proceedings. When the court is sitting the use of mobile telephones, other communications or recording equipment, cameras and personal stereos is strictly prohibited. Smoking eating and drinking is also restricted to designated areas within the Royal Courts of Justice complex.


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Are transcripts of proceedings and evidence made public?
The Coroner publishes on this website transcripts of proceedings that take place in open court. Where possible the Coroner also publishes evidence seen and heard in open court during the course of the Inquests.


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Will the 56 inquests be heard together or separately?
The Coroner has jurisdiction over all 56 inquests which arise from the bombings on 7 July 2005. The Coroner has decided that the inquests into the deaths of the 52 members of the public killed on 7 July 2005 should be resumed and heard together. The inquests into the deaths of . Mohammed Sidique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer, Hasib Hussain and Jermaine Lindsay remain adjourned.

Full details of the Coroners rulings can be found on this website under the heading ‘Directions and Decisions’.


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Who can be called to give evidence in an inquest?
The Coroner is solely responsible for deciding which witnesses will be heard and the legitimate scope of questions, although of course she intends to canvas her views on this with the Interested Persons in advance. Witnesses who may be called to give evidence will be those who can provide material and relevant evidence on the issues identified.


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Can witnesses be compelled to attend or provide evidence for an inquest?
The Coroner can compel witnesses to give evidence if they are in the jurisdiction and are properly summonsed. If witnesses are outside the jurisdiction the Coroner can ask the authorities concerned to exercise their powers, which may vary according to the relevant jurisdiction.


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What are the possible outcomes in an inquest?
Possible verdicts include: natural causes, accident, suicide, unlawful or lawful killing, industrial disease, and open verdicts (where there is insufficient evidence for any other verdict). There may also be a narrative verdict which sets out in narrative form how the person died.

The Coroner may also report the death to any appropriate person or authority, if action is needed to prevent more deaths in similar circumstances.


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Who may take part in and can be represented at an inquest?
Anyone deemed by the Coroner to have what is called "a proper interest" may ask relevant questions of a witness at an inquest. They can be:


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Will there be a jury?
After hearing submissions from Interested Persons, the Coroner has decided that the Inquests should proceed without a jury.