Inquests and inquiries are an increasing feature of public life. They come in a variety of forms, some with statutory powers and others carried out on an ad hoc, informal basis. Often such investigations are commissioned by government when something has gone wrong and public confidence has been damaged.
Investigations and inquiries can be highly emotive and the subject matter is often both sensitive and high profile. Effective communication with stakeholders including victims, families, the media, politicians, police forces or other authorities is vital. It is also essential that such proceedings are handled with confidence, efficiency and clarity by those with experience of managing such cases.
We provide clients with a range of public inquiry and inquest services, including conducting audits or independent reviews; acting as solicitor or secretariat to the inquiry or inquest; and writing terms of reference and procedural rules for inquiries and investigations.
We are also adept at managing, interviewing and taking statements from witnesses; advising on the processes of the inquiry, document management, avoiding judicial review and media handling; advising on evidence, powers and duties, and fair process; advising on human rights, freedom of information and data protection; and providing a team to assist in-house legal teams with evidential disclosure.
We are consistently ranked in the first tier in the leading legal directories for administrative and public law, reflecting our excellent reputation for assisting public inquiries and conducting investigations and reviews. In addition, we are proud that the UK Legal 500 says our partner Martin Smith is ‘widely acknowledged as the leading public inquiry/inquest solicitor’.
Notable deals / highlights
- Acted on some of the most high profile inquests and inquiries of the past decade, including: the inquests into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and Mr Dodi Al Fayed; the 7/7 London bombings; the death of Russian émigré Alexander Litvinenko; the Baha Mousa Public Inquiry; represented the interests of witnesses in the Al-Sweady Public Inquiry; and the new inquests arising from the Hillsborough Football Stadium disaster.