Inquests with no witnesses present
In some inquests, everyone agrees on the facts and the written reports answer all the Coroner's and relatives' questions. There is nothing to gain from calling witnesses to come to court and give oral evidence. The Coroners (Inquest) Rules 2013 allow the Coroner to hold and conclude an inquest simply by admitting the documents into evidence. This is known as a 'Rule 23' inquest because this is the section of the Rules which permits it, or alternatively as a 'short-form inquest'.
If the Coroner is satisfied that a Rule 23 inquest would be appropriate, they will write to the next of kin. Relatives can agree to the Rule 23 inquest, or say that they want a hearing with witnesses present.
Rule 23 hearings are scheduled for a 15 minute slot. We inform relatives of the time and they can attend if they want to, but they do not have to. The Coroner will carry out the hearing by reading the relevant sections of the documents into evidence and delivering their conclusion.