Inquests and inquiries
An inquest is a court hearing where the Coroner considers evidence to determine the identity of the deceased and the date, place, manner and cause of death of the deceased. At this hearing, the Coroner may call witnesses to give evidence of their knowledge of the circumstances of the death.
You may request in writing that an inquest be held and your reasons why, however the Coroner will only take this into account when deciding whether to hold an inquest.
If an inquest is held you will be advised prior to the inquest of the date and location of the inquest. In most case inquests are open to the public however on some occasions the Coroner may close the court or prohibit the publication of certain material.
At the end of the inquest the Coroner will make a 'finding'. This is a different document from the post mortem report. The finding can vary in length, from a single page to many pages for a case involving an inquest. The finding will be sent to the Senior next of kin, and other people as directed by the Coroner. See recent coronial findings.
An inquiry is a court hearing where the Coroner investigates a fire or explosion which caused damage to property, but did not cause deaths. The Coroner's role is to establish the cause and origin or the fire or explosion.