The Magistrate's Court holds inquests into deaths. Generally, these are held at the request of the Law Officers of the Crown, who are responsible for the preliminary investigations into all deaths where the deceased person may have either met an unnatural or violent end, died in prison, or in other circumstances where for some reason a doctor cannot sign a death certificate.
An inquest is a limited fact-finding inquiry to establish:
• Who has died
• Where and when the death occurred
• How the cause of death arose
• Information required by the Registrar of Deaths so that the death can be registered
Possible verdicts include:
• Natural causes
• Unlawful or lawful killing
• Industrial disease
• Open verdicts
Open verdicts will usually be recorded where there is insufficient evidence for any other verdict.