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Psychiatric Hospital

Inquests Into Deaths Which Took Place Whilst Detained In A Psychiatric Hospital Or Mental Health Institution

 

Unlike deaths which occur in police custody, or whilst detained in a prison or immigration centres, there is no independent authority charged with conducting an investigation into the death of someone in psychiatric care, which can mean inquests are delayed or overlooked.

 

This often makes it difficult for those bereaved in this way to understand that they are entitled to an inquest when:

 

  • The death was violent (this can include suicide – please see  for more information);
  • The death is unknown – which can also be the case if it is unclear that the deceased wished to take their life; or
  • The death occurred whilst detained – should be conducted if the deceased was on leave from the psychiatric hospital or mental health institution.

 

If you have been bereaved in this way, you are entitled to expert representation throughout this process. Whether you have not been offered an inquest, or you require legal advice as part of the process, Duncan Lewis Action Against Public Authorities solicitors can support you.

 

An inquest into someone who died whilst in a psychiatric ward or mental health institution will be an Article 2 inquest, as determined by the European Convention of Human Rights. This states that ‘everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law.’ It influences the inquest, by changing the Coroner’s rule from ‘how’ defined as ‘by what means,’ to ‘how’ meaning ‘by what means and in what circumstances.’ This specialist approach is one which Duncan Lewis’ Action Against Public Authorities solicitors is familiar with, so we can interpret the inquest at every stage of the proceedings.

 

As an ‘interested person’ you will be able to ask questions at the inquest. We are here to prepare and guide you for that, whilst representing your best interests.

 

If the results of the inquest are unsatisfactory, or further evidence has been revealed, it is possible to appeal that within a time limit. We can advise you on whether your appeal is valid. Should that not be the case, you can still challenge the inquest by judicial review. This does not have the same limits. We can guide you on which suits your case and prepare and represent you throughout the proceedings.

 

If you have been bereaved by the death of someone in psychiatric care, or you wish to appeal the results of an inquest into that death, call Duncan Lewis Action Against Public Authorities solicitors on 0333 772 0409.


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