An inquest in Ireland is an official enquiry into the cause of sudden or unexplained death. An inquest is legally required in the case of some deaths. The inquest is led by a Coroner who examines the circumstances surrounding the death and the medical cause of the death.

The Coroner will correspond with an investigating member of An Garda Siochana to gather all details relating to the deceased. They will also correspond with any medical professionals who pronounced the death or who may be in a position to offer a medical certification of the cause of death.

Once the Coroner is in possession of all the relevant facts, they must decide whether or not to direct a post-mortem examination of the deceased. Where the post-mortem examination confirms an unnatural or concerning cause of death, an Inquest must be held.

Inquests are heard in public and any member of the public can attend, however, only interested parties can ask questions, i.e. family members of the deceased.

No decision on liability for the death is made at the inquest, this is dealt with through the courts.

At the end of the hearing of all the evidence at the Inquest, the Coroner will record a verdict that relates to the identity of the Decease, where and when the death occurred, the medical cause of death and the circumstances leading to the death. The Coroner’s report of the post-mortem and the record of the verdict can be accessed by family members of the deceased or their solicitor.

If  you have any further queries, contact McElhinney & Associates today on (074) 9175989. or email us at

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**This information is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice. Professional or legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this publication. No liability is accepted by McElhinney & Associates for any action taken in reliance on the information contained herein. Any and all information is subject to change.