Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Of interest to lawyers who go to Inquests

The Court of Appeal have handed down a judgment in a case called Lewis http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2009/1403.html which tries to determine the scope of the questions which should be left to a jury in an article 2 type inquest. Should the jury be left to work out all of the factual disputes or just the ones which relate to matters which might actually have caused the death? The Court of Appeal's answer is not straightforward: essentially their is no duty on the Coroner to leave potentially causative circumstances to the jury. He is only under a duty to leave factual matters where the evidence shows that they might actually have had causative effect. Unless the Coroner needs to steer from the jury for the purposes of a rule 43 report - then he has a power (but not a duty) to leave 'potentially causative matters' to the jury. Clear?

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