Inquest support for a
death involving the police

When your loved one has died following police contact or whilst in police custody, you and your family will want answers to understand how the death occurred or why your loved one was not kept safe.

Contact us to find out more about our inquest support

Talk to us today

Supporting you after a death involving the police

If someone close to you has died in an incident involving the police, we're here to help you find out what happened.

Examples include:

  • inappropriate use of force by police officers, such as excessive force or inappropriate use of Taser guns
  • deaths occurring during a police pursuit/car chase
  • deaths occurring whilst in the police station or in police custody
  • medical deaths where the police have failed to recognise/respond to the condition, or have failed to arrange appropriate treatment
  • suicide in police custody, or following police contact.

In these situations, a Coroner will usually hold an inquest to investigate the circumstances of the death. Generally, when an inquest involves the police, it will be known as an ‘Article 2’ Inquest.

Inquests may be a distressing and daunting experience for you. Our specialist solicitors will advise you at every step of the process though, ensuring key documents such as police records, CCTV footage and medical records are provided, and that key witnesses are called to give evidence. We can also liaise with the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), formerly the ‘IPCC’, and advise you on any complaints process, investigations or reports which arise from the IOPC involvement.

We will provide specialist representation for you throughout the inquest hearing so that your concerns about what happened to your loved one are properly addressed. After the inquest, or if an inquest did not take place, we can also advise you on whether you can bring a claim for compensation for any negligence on the part of the police.

We can also help put you in touch with specialist organisations that can provide further support during this difficult time. By way of example, we work closely with the charity INQUEST, who provide an invaluable source of support and information where someone has died following police involvement.

The following leaflet, prepared by the government, may also help you to understand the practical steps and processes that occur after someone has died in police custody.

Do you need a solicitor for an inquest?

There’s no obligation to instruct a solicitor for an inquest; you can represent yourself if you wish. However, there are many benefits to having a solicitor represent you, particularly where the hospital/treatment provider is likely to have legal representation.

We strongly urge people to consider specialist legal representation for an inquest in all but the most straightforward and uncontroversial deaths.

The formalities and procedure of an inquest hearing are likely to be a daunting prospect for the family of the deceased, particularly whilst grieving for the loss of their loved on;  having your own lawyer fighting your corner will ease the burden.

Furthermore, the other Interested Parties are likely to be far more familiar with the process outlined above and will also have their own legal teams acting for them. This can mean that family members who represent themselves feel intimidated and ill-prepared when faced with experienced advocates.

Will I have to pay legal costs?

Often representation can be provided at no direct cost to you. We recommend you get in touch with our specialist team so we can advise you on the options available for you and which may best suit your particular case.

Is this just about money?

If negligence caused the death of your loved one, compensation can help you to secure your future and that of your family, and also cover any expenses incurred as a result of the death, for example funeral costs, loss of earnings, bereavement award, additional childcare costs.

However, understandably many families don’t just want financial compensation, but answers. We strive to find out how the death happened and endeavour to ensure it doesn’t happen to another family.

our work
Recent cases

A died following police use of a taser. Having been called out to his home, and finding him to have poured fuel on himself, one of the officers deployed their taser. This caused the fuel to ignite, all in view of his parents. A died several days later from complications of the severe burns.

We supported the family throughout the inquest process, as well as the CPS, IOPC and misconduct investigations beforehand. The use of the taser in the presence of fuel was contrary to police guidance, the jury having concluded that the taser was the most likely source of the ignition which caused A’s burns. Subsequently we were able to assist A’s parents with a claim for damages and arranged for them to be seen by a psychiatrist who provided evidence of the effect A’s death had had on them. This meant we could obtain funds for them to receive specialist counselling following the horrifying events they witnessed.

M had attended a party and become intoxicated. He was detained at the police station ‘for his own safety’. No ambulance was called and M was not seen by a police medic. He was later found unconscious in his cell and sadly died, having asphyxiated on his own vomit.

We provided support to the family throughout the investigation, representing them in the inquest and dealing with press on their behalf. A claim was advanced after the inquest concluded and damages were secured to ensure M’s children were financially supported in his absence, where he had been the breadwinner for his young family.

How can RWK Goodman help you?

Our dedicated inquest team will fight on your behalf and guide you through the process, making it less daunting and ensuring that you get the best possible outcome.

Even if no inquest takes place, you may be able to bring a claim for compensation where negligence has caused or contributed to the death of your loved one. See our fatal claims page for more information.

  • Independently accredited, top ranked firm
  • Trusted experts in inquests
  • Supportive and understanding

If you would like to speak to our team, please contact us on

contact us
Contact our inquest solicitors today
Types of inquest

How we can help after a fatal injury

We have a wide range of specialist solicitors, who can help with a number of issues relating to a bereavement.

Inquest support for a death involving a road traffic collision
When a loved one has been killed in a road traffic accident you will want to understand how it happened and to ensure it doesn’t happen to anyone else
Bereavement guide
A guide to everything you might need to consider when you experience a bereavement.
Article 2 inquests
If a loved one has died in the care of the state, you may find yourself involved in an ‘Article 2 Inquest’ exploring the circumstances of their death. Our specialist team of inquest solicitors are here to help you find answers and hold those responsible to account.
Deaths in military service
When your loved one dies in military service it can lead to a lot of unanswered questions. We may be able to help answer them.
Deaths in prison
When your loved one has died in prison – whether due to violence from another prisoner, suicide, or natural causes – an Article 2 inquest will be held to find out the circumstances surrounding their death.
Deaths involving mental health treatment
The death of a loved one following contact with or when resident in a mental health facility can be a truly devastating time. You are likely to have many unanswered questions about how they died following assessment or treatment.
Fatal injury claims
If you’ve lost a loved one it will undoubtedly be a very distressing time for you and your family. This is especially the case if you believe the death occurred as a result of an accident or due to substandard care.
Infant loss
The distress of infant loss can be greatly exacerbated by concerns that there has been substandard medical treatment and that the death could have been avoided. An inquest can help answer your questions.
Inquest or fatal claim
If you are concerned that a loved one’s death may have been caused by an accident or substandard care, a distressing time can be made even worse. Here we explain whether you may wish to bring a claim for damages, whether an inquest may be appropriate, or both. We will guide you through the process from start to finish.
Legal insights

Insight from our legal specialists

View more articles related to Inquests and Fatal Claims