Judgment was handed down by the Divisional Court on 30th March in a case which clarifies the principles governing whether to order a fresh inquest. Mary Farrell, whose son had died from a terminal illness in 2016, applied to the court for a fresh inquest into her son’s death, based on her suspicions that his death was caused by an overdose of medication administered by his widow, Amanda Burden. Ms Burden opposed the application, arguing that Mrs Farrell had no credible basis for her views, which were contrary to the contemporaneous documentary evidence and to the expert opinion of an independent respiratory physician.

The court agreed with Ms Burden and dismissed the application. In doing so, it clarified that fresh inquests will not normally be ordered where there is no real possibility of the new investigation reaching a different conclusion, or of making additional or different fact findings (see §31).

Peter Skelton QC was instructed by Hickman and Rose for the widow. Judgment available here.