Inquiries and Inquests

Practice Summary


Our barristers have been responsible for landmark cases in this area.  For example, they acted for the family of Zahid Mubarek, who was murdered by his cell-mate in HMYOI Feltham, in R (Amin) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2004] 1 AC 653, the leading case on the requirements of Article 2 compliant inquests and inquiries.  They also acted for bereaved 7/7 families in R (Secretary of State for the Home Department) v Coroner for Inner West London [2011] 1 WLR 2564, in which the Divisional Court ruled that it was unlawful for inquests to consider evidence given in closed session. Doughty Street barristers were also involved in the landmark case concerning the State’s investigative obligations in respect of an attempted suicide in custody: R (on the application of JL) (Respondent) v Secretary of State for Justice (Appellant) [2009] 1 AC 588


DSC barristers have extensive experience of coronial law, and regularly act in inquests, judicial reviews and civil claims for bereaved families and individuals in a wide variety of circumstances, including deaths in police, prison and immigration custody; deaths occurring in healthcare institutions; deaths of children and young people being accommodated or supported by Social Services departments; and deaths arising through terrorism. Members of the team have unparalleled experience representing the families of those who have died at the hands of state agents, in custody, or in other suspicious circumstances. They also act on behalf of other parties in inquests, including the media, and some members of the team have been appointed as Assistant Coroners.


Doughty Street barristers have acted in many of the most high-profile inquests in recent years, including those into the deaths of Jean Charles de Menezes (the Stockwell shooting), Diana, Princess of Wales/Dodi Al Fayed, Mark Duggan, Harry Stanley (who was shot by Metropolitan Police officers when carrying home a table leg), Ruddock and others (the second New Cross Fire inquest), the 7/7 London bombings inquests, Jimmy Mubenga (who was unlawfully killed while being forcibly removed from the United Kingdom), Ian Tomlinson (who died after being struck by a Metropolitan Police officer at the G20 demonstrations in 2009), and the fresh inquests into the deaths in the Hillsborough tragedy.


Doughty Street barristers have also acted in some of the most important public inquiries of recent years. Notable cases include representing the Azelle Rodney Inquiry, the Alexander Litvinenko Inquiry, the Undercover Policing Inquiry, acting for the Conlon family at the May Public Inquiry into their miscarriages of justice; the Al Sweady Public Inquiry into allegations against the British Army in Iraq; acting for the BIHR in relation to the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry; representing the Forensic Science Service in the Home Office review of the investigation into the killing of Damilola Taylor.


Our practitioners have written some of the central text books in this area including Inquests - A Practitioner’s Guide LAG, and the article 2 chapter of Human Rights Practice Emmerson and Simor eds.


Members of the employment team are accredited under the Public Access scheme and can therefore accept direct instructions from the client. For an explanation on the scheme please click here.


Henrietta Hill QC is the team leader for the the Inquiries and Inquests Team.

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