An inquest is a fact finding inquiry to establish who has died, how and when the death occurred. It is not a trial.
Unlike other courts there is no prosecution or defence. The coroner’s jurisdiction is inquisitorial rather than adversarial or accusatory. The coroner and others who are interested persons simply seek the answer.

An inquest will be opened as soon as the investigation reveals a need to conduct an inquest. This usually takes the form of a short public hearing at which evidence about the fact of death and the registration particular is usually given. Subsequently, a pre-inquest hearing may be arranged in complex cases, which is usually heard in public. The full inquest will then be resumed. It usually takes between 3 and 9 months to conclude this work, but some cases can take longer than this if the inquiries prove to be complicated. Once all the investigations are complete, the inquest will be re-assumed and concluded.