Recognised as a leading set in the field of inquest work, we have an enormous breadth and depth of experience in coronial law. Our members have appeared in many of the most high profile and controversial inquests over the years, as well as cases that have shaped this area of law.

We appear in jury inquests as well as claims for judicial review of coroners’ decisions and subsequent damages claims. This work often overlaps with other areas of expertise, including public inquiries, clinical negligence, personal injury, human rights, mental health, public law (including prisons, police, the military and the intelligence services). We are therefore ideally placed to advise and represent interested persons and coroners in the most complex of cases.

We provide representation to families and other interested persons, including clinical practitioners, NHS bodies, private health care providers, government departments (including the Home Office, the Ministry of Defence and the intelligence services), the police and local authorities. Our members have been Counsel to the Coroner and regularly undertake advisory work for coroners.

Members have also edited and co-authored the leading practitioner guide to coronial law The Inquest Book: The Law of Coroners and Inquests (Hart Publishing, 2016). Read more about our publications here.

Areas of expertise encompass:

  • Medical deaths, including alleged surgical, nursing, obstetric and anesthetic failures
  • Homicides
  • Terrorist-related deaths
  • Deaths in custody
  • Military deaths
  • Construction Accidents

Notable cases include:  

  • The Hillsborough Inquests: 96 football supporters lost their lives as a result of a crush on the terraces at Hillsborough stadium during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on 15 April 1989.
  • Inquest into the death of Molly Russell: an inquest which explored the impact of Instagram on teen suicide.
  • Inquest into the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse: a young girl with a severe sesame allergy who died after eating a baguette from Pret at Heathrow Airport, which led to a global change in food labelling and packaging.
  • 7/7 Bombings: terrorist bombings in London on 7 July 2005, in which 52 people were killed.
  • Inquest into the death of Alexander Litvinenko: the former officer of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) who was poisoned by FSB operators.
  • Inquest into the death of Alexander Perepilichnyy: a Russian national and whistleblower found dead whilst running. It has been claimed he was poisoned.
  • Inquest into the death of Kingsley Burrell: 6 week jury inquest into the death of a man in Birmingham who was restrained by police at a Mental Health Unit and then transferred by ambulance, whilst still under restraint and with a covering over his head, to another Unit. He was then left in a seclusion room and shortly thereafter died.
  • Birmingham Inquests (1974): the reopened inquests of 21 people who died in the IRA Birmingham pub bombing on 21 November 1974.
  • In Amenas: inquest into the murder of seven BP workers during a terrorist attack on an Algerian gas plant.
  • Alice Gross: inquest into the murder of Alice Gross by a Latvian criminal Arnis Zalkalns.
  • Coagh Inquests: inquest into the shooting of three IRA volunteers by a specialist British Army unit in 1991.
  • Re AC: Irish resident who died of a massive haemorrhage following a late termination of pregnancy, having been discharged from the abortion clinic shortly prior to death.
  • Inquest into the death of Grace Roseman: a seven week old baby who died of asphyxia after her head became stuck over the half lowered side edge of a bedside sleeper cot. The inquest has led to an industry-wide re-examination of baby cot safety internationally.
  • Liam Hogan: the six year old boy whose father threw him off a hotel balcony in Crete.
  • Horatio Chapple: schoolboy who was attacked and killed by a polar bear on a school expedition in Norway.

“1 Crown Office Row houses “an excellent bench of barristers,” which includes some of the most prominent silks and juniors specialising in inquests and public inquiries. According to commentators, “1 Crown Office counsel are consistently among the best in the business.” The set is particularly capable in inquests involving clinical negligence and professional negligence. Members field instructions from healthcare professionals, NHS trusts, bereaved families and other core participants. Coroners and inquiry chairs also routinely seek out counsel from 1 Crown Office Row. The set is consistently involved in the most high-profile instructions, and recent highlights include the Hillsborough inquest, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and the inquest into the 1974 pub bombings in Birmingham.” (Chambers & Partners 2018, Band 1)

The clerks are really good and professional, and they go the extra mile. They take the time to get to know you and look after you.” Senior clerk Matthew Phipps is “excellent” and “runs a tight ship.“(Chambers & Partners 2018)

“1 Crown Office Row has ‘unparalleled strength in depth, which always “produces the goods”’. The set receives instructions in inquests touching on medical and military deaths as well as deaths in custody and various high-profile disasters, such as Hillsborough and the Birmingham bombings (inquest pending).” (Legal 500 2017, Tier 1)

For information on our team based in Brighton, please click here.


Matthew Phipps 1COR

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