Southerns Inquest team confirm that LEGAL AID FUNDING IS AVAILABLE to bereaved families for specialist representation at inquests, even though the Ministry of Justice has confirmed in its final report that it will not introduce automatic public funding where the state is represented.
For decades INQUEST and the families and lawyers they work with have highlighted the inequality of arms faced by bereaved families at inquests. They called for automatic non-means tested legal aid funding to families for specialist representation immediately after a state-related death to cover preparation and representation at the inquest and other legal processes.
Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST said: “The Ministry of Justice have failed to confront the reality of the uneven playing field faced by bereaved families, and the considered recommendations of all those who have looked at this issue. This is a dishonest response and a betrayal of those who invested in this review in the hope of securing meaningful change. INQUEST and the bereaved families we work with will continue to campaign for what is so clearly needed: automatic non-means tested legal aid funding to families following a state-related death.”
Whilst saddened by the decision taken by the Ministry of Justice the Inquest team at Southerns wish to highlight their ongoing commitment to the representation of bereaved families at Inquests, we realise that an inquest can be such an intimidating place for families and loved ones, at what is already a painful and difficult time.
Legal Aid funding remains available to bereaved families where a death is connected with a public authority, such as a death in prison, police custody, a mental health setting, or in a hospital in unusual circumstances. An application can be made to “waive” the financial eligibility limits and to obtain what is called “Exceptional Cases Funding”.
To speak to a member of our specialist inquest team please call us on 01282 438446 or email a member of our team at [email protected]