Inquest Charitable Trust (stylised as INQUEST so as not to be confused with the legal process known as an inquest) is a charity concerned with state related deaths in England and Wales. It was founded in 1981.[1] Inquest provides support on state-related deaths, including deaths in custody and their investigation, to bereaved people, lawyers, advice and support agencies, the media and parliamentarians.[2] Their policy, parliamentary, campaigning and media work is grounded in the day-to-day experience of working with bereaved people.[citation needed]

TypeCharitable organization
Registration no.1046650
FocusState-related deaths
  • Finsbury Park, London
Area served
England and Wales
Key people
Deborah Coles, Director

Inquest's specialist casework includes deaths in police and prison custody, immigration detention, mental health settings and deaths involving multi-agency failings or where wider issues of state and corporate accountability are in question, such as the deaths and wider issues around Hillsborough and the Grenfell Tower fire.[3][4][non-primary source needed] However they also have a handbook which is relevant to all families facing an inquest: The Inquest Handbook: a guide for bereaved families, friends and their advisors, for anyone dealing with an inquest, freely available online and also in print.[5][6][7]

The director of the Inquest is Deborah Coles,[2] who has worked for the charity since 1989. She has been an independent expert adviser to numerous government committees and inquiries, is a regular media commentator, delivers conference papers nationally and internationally and has authored numerous articles and publications.[8][non-primary source needed]

The chair of the trustees, as of June 2016, is solicitor Daniel Machover,[9] The poet Benjamin Zephaniah is the charity's patron;[10] his cousin Mikey Powell died in 2003 after being detained by police, for which West Midlands Police issued an apology in 2013.[11]

Inquest are represented on the Ministerial Board on Deaths in Custody.[12]

Inquest's logo includes the words "truth, justice and accountability" and an image of a keyhole.[3]

Inquest Charitable Trust is a registered charity, number 1046650.[3]

Inquest's work Edit

History Edit

Inquest was founded in 1981 at a time of dissatisfaction with procedures for dealing with deaths in custody and at the hands of the police, and the failure of the official response to these deaths, in particular the deaths of Jimmy Kelly and Blair Peach.[13][3] Both men died after being assaulted by police officers, and both of the inquests set up following their deaths denied their families access to relevant information.[14][15][16]

Following a sustained campaign by Inquest, Peach's family and supporters the internal investigation of the Metropolitan Police (known as the Cass Report) was published. This report found that Blair Peach had been killed by a police officer, and then other officers lied in order to prevent this being made public.[17][18]

Inquest's decades of work to improve the rights of bereaved people at inquests into contentious deaths led to the use of narrative conclusions at inquests and greater use of coroners’ reports to prevent future deaths. They used Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights to secure more wide-ranging inquests into deaths involving state bodies.[19]

Campaigns and achievements Edit

The organisation has successfully campaigned for reforms including: the establishment of independent investigations following deaths in police custody by the Independent Police Complaints Commission and prisons by Prisons and Probation Ombudsman in 2004, and the 2007 Corporate Manslaughter Act, which allows for companies and organisations to be held legally responsible for certain deaths.[19] Inquest lobbied for, influenced and informed the Coroners and Justice Act 2009,[20][21][non-primary source needed] and led the successful campaign to safeguard the post of the first Chief Coroner of England and Wales.[22][23][non-primary source needed]

Inquest has lobbied for, advised on and provided expert evidence in a number of significant government reviews including the Corston Report[24] into vulnerable women in prison; the Harris Review on self-inflicted deaths of young people in prison;[25] and the cross-government Care Quality Commission review into the investigation of NHS deaths,[26] among many others.[27]

In 2015 it was announced by Theresa May, then the Home Secretary, that Inquest's director Deborah Coles would be a special adviser to Dame Elish Angiolini QC who was chairing the Independent Review Into Deaths and Serious Incidents in Police Custody,[28] and Inquest would be involved in enabling bereaved families to give evidence to the inquiry.[29][30] In October 2017 the report was published and made a range of recommendations which reflected the long-running work and aims of Inquest.[31][32]

In 2016 Inquest used Freedom of Information requests to compile a report finding that at least nine young people had died since 2010 while in-patients in mental health units, and called for such deaths to be statutorily notified and investigated.[33]

Hillsborough Edit

Inquest supported families and their lawyers through the historic new Hillsborough inquests in 2016, which concluded with an unlawful killing finding for the first time and exonerated both survivors and the 96 people who died. They were then involved in a review on the experiences of Hillsborough families,[34] published in October 2017 and chaired by Bishop James Jones. This review backed the proposed Hillsborough Law,[35] formally titled The Public Authority (Accountability) Bill, which was first read in Parliament in March 2017 by Andy Burnham MP and received cross-party support.[36] The bill would increase the accountability of public bodies and ensure bereaved families had equal legal representation at an inquest where state bodies are represented. Due to the 2017 UK General Election the bill dropped off the parliamentary calendar, but lawyers, MPs, Hillsborough families and Inquest are campaigning for it to be brought through Parliament again and implemented.[37][non-primary source needed]

Prizes Edit

In 2009 Inquest won the Longford Prize, an annual award in the field of social or penal reform. The judges commended Inquest's "remarkable perseverance, personal commitment and courage in an area too often under-investigated by the public authorities, and especially for its support for the families of those who have taken their own lives while in the care of the state".[38]

Inquest has twice received the Liberty Human Rights Award in 2015 for their work uncovering serious human rights abuses of children in custody[39] and in 2016 for their work with the family of Connor Sparrowhawk[40] and Bindmans Solicitors to improve the standard of care provided for people with mental health and learning disabilities.[41]

Notable cases Edit

Inquest have supported bereaved families, and assisted lawyers and supporters following deaths in custody and detention, notable cases include:

Notable staff Edit

Inquest publications Edit

Further reading Edit

  • Renton, David (2014). Who killed Blair Peach?. Defend the Right to Protest and the NUT.
  • Goldson, Barry (2003). Vulnerable inside: Children in Secure and Penal Settings. The Children's Society.
  • Ryan, Mick (1996). Lobbying From Below: Inquest in Defence of Civil Liberties. Routledge.

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ "In Praise of... INQUEST". The Guardian. 4 September 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Migrant staying at Manston processing centre dies - Home Office". 20 November 2022. Retrieved 21 November 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d "About us". Inquest Charitable Trust. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  4. ^ "Grenfell Tower". Inquest. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  5. ^ The Inquest Handbook: a guide for bereaved families, friends and their advisors. ISBN 978-0-946858-25-5.
  6. ^ "Help and Advice". Inquest. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  7. ^ "The Inquest Handbook: A guide for bereaved families, friends and advisors". Retrieved 21 November 2022.
  8. ^ "Staff Team". Inquest. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  9. ^ "INQUEST Board". Inquest Charitable Trust. Archived from the original on 9 June 2016. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  10. ^ "Message from our Patron". Inquest Charitable Trust. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  11. ^ "West Midlands Police Apologise to Family of Mimkey Powell Ahead of the 10th Anniversary of his Death". Press releases. Inquest Charitable Trust. 6 September 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  12. ^ "Ministerial Board on Deaths in Custody". Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody.
  13. ^ Speed, Carly (2012). "Self-Inflicted Deaths in Prison: An Exploration of INQUEST's Challenges to State Power" (PDF). Internet Journal of Criminology. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 August 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  14. ^ Scraton, Phil (2005). "The Authoritarian Within: Reflections on Power, Knowledge and Resistance" (PDF). Inaugural Professorial Lecture, Queen's University, Belfast. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  15. ^ "Blair Peach Inquest". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. July 31, 1980. col. 1890–1891.
  16. ^ "Blair Peach inquiry ruled out". BBC. 13 April 1999. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  17. ^ Lewis, Paul (27 April 2010). "Blair Peach: After 31 years Met police say 'sorry' for their role in his killing". Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  18. ^ "Annual Report 2009-10" (PDF). Inquest Charitable Trust. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  19. ^ a b "Our impact". Inquest. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  20. ^ "Inquests and Investigations". Inquest. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  21. ^ "INQUEST welcomes long-awaited implementation of Coroners and Justice Act 2009". Inquest. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  22. ^ "Charities call on MPs to vote for the chief coroner". Inquest. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  23. ^ "MPs urged to vote to save the chief coroner". Inquest. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  24. ^ Corston, Baroness Jean (2007). The Corston Report (PDF). Home Office. ISBN 9781847261779. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  25. ^ Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody (2015). "The Harris Review". Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  26. ^ "Learning, candour and accountability: A review of the way NHS trusts review and investigate the deaths of patients in England" (PDF). Care Quality Commission. December 2016. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  27. ^ "Submissions, reports and briefings". Inquest. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  28. ^ "Home Secretary announces chair for deaths in custody review". Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  29. ^ Allen, Chris (22 October 2015). "Former Lord Advocate in Scotland to lead custody review in England and Wales". ... Inquest will facilitate family listening days so that the Dame Elish can hear evidence from those who have lost loved ones in police custody ...
  30. ^ "INQUEST Family Listening Day report". Inquest Charitable Trust. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  31. ^ "Independent review of deaths and serious incidents in police custody". Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  32. ^ "Landmark review on deaths in police custody published today is an opportunity to save lives". Inquest. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  33. ^ "Mental health deaths under-reported, says charity". BBC News. 11 April 2016. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  34. ^ "Hillsborough stadium disaster: lessons that must be learnt". 1 November 2017.
  35. ^ Conn, David (2017-11-01). "Official review backs 'Hillsborough law' proposals". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  36. ^ "Public Authority (Accountability) - Hansard Online". Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  37. ^ "New crowdfunder launched to help INQUEST challenge the state's response to deaths and push for 'Hillsborough Law'".
  38. ^ "Longford Prize Winner: Inquest". The Longford Trust. 2 December 2009. Archived from the original on 8 August 2016. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  39. ^ "Liberty and Justice Host Human Rights Awards". Liberty. 4 December 2007.
  40. ^ "Justice for LB".
  41. ^ "Refugee Rights Take Centre Stage at Liberty Human Rights Awards 2016". Liberty. 27 October 2016.
  42. ^ "Oluwashijibomi Lapite, Inquest briefing" (PDF).
  43. ^ "Christopher Alder, Inquest briefing" (PDF).
  44. ^ "Roger Sylvester, Inquest briefing" (PDF).
  45. ^ "Jean Charles De Menezes, Inquest briefing" (PDF).
  46. ^ "Ian Tomlinson, Inquest briefing" (PDF).
  47. ^ "Jury condemns actions of the police and mental health trust in verdict over death of Sean Rigg". Inquest. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  48. ^ Gentleman, Amelia; Gayle, Damien (17 February 2016). "Sarah Reed's mother: 'My daughter was failed by many and I was ignored'". The Guardian.
  49. ^ "Jury concludes unnecessary delays and failures in care contributed to death of Sarah Reed at Holloway prison". Inquest. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  50. ^ "The World according to Zafar Ansari (Josh Bartholomew, Hampton School)".

External links Edit