Pump Court Chambers

Inquests & Inquiries

Barristers from Pump Court Chambers have been involved in many of the most prominent Public Inquiries of recent times.  They have experience of working in a range of different roles, including for Inquiry legal teams and on behalf of Core Participants.

Members of our Inquests Team frequently acts in Inquests and civil actions that arise from deaths in custody and other institutions.  Many of these have been nationally reported and our team is well positioned to support those who are involved in such circumstances.

Inquiry Team

Our team has significant experience of representing individuals, companies, local authorities and a variety of organisations that may be required to attend a Public Inquiry.

Members of the team have represented parties in or worked for the most prominent Public Inquiries of recent times, including the Iraq Inquiry, the Baha Mousa Inquiry, the Undercover Policing Inquiry, the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

Many members of the team hold government security clearance that permits them to have access to sensitive government records, including those classified as Top Secret.

Our team also has experience of providing advice on Inquiry procedure and on related issues such as human rights, data protection, compliance with redaction protocols and third-party sensitivities.

Pump Court Chambers also has a team of Inquiry Chairs, led by Nigel Pascoe QC, who are all senior practitioners with judicial experience.  Senior members of Pump Court currently sit as Civil and Criminal Recorders, Deputy High Court Judges, Chancellors in Consistory Courts and Legal Assessors in Employment and Regulatory Tribunals. Our Inquiry Chairs have experience of making findings of fact, enabling them to conduct discreet independent inquiries on behalf of companies and authorities and to investigate and reach independent conclusions on a wide range of public and private issues.

Local Authorities, public bodies and large and small companies sometimes require fact-finding inquiries to be conducted by an independent expert whose integrity is beyond question to resolve issues fairly and openly while avoiding unnecessary publicity. These can involve anything from reading prepared documents to investigation and hearing evidence. Having an independent outsider, our Inquiry Chairs take the role of inquiry investigator, hearing evidence, reading documents and reaching conclusions.

Pump Court Chambers Inquiry Chairs offer:

  • Competitive fixed fees
  • Experience and expertise
  • Day and evening availability
  • Flexibility over venues
  • Secretarial support where appropriate

All work will be covered by agreed terms of reference and time scales.

Notable cases include:

  • Our Inquiry Chairs have been instructed by high-profile fundraising organisations where there are allegations of financial impropriety by members of staff. Investigations and findings of fact made by our team have resulted in private resolutions and satisfactory redress while avoiding press intrusion and the inevitable disproportionate adverse publicity.
  • Nigel Pascoe QC was instructed by a local authority to conduct an inquiry into alleged serious misconduct by a councillor who was also their Member of Parliament. The case involved detailed investigation of allegations made by a vulnerable complainant against a powerful and high-profile individual. This was a private inquiry, the formal findings of which were then made public at a later stage (Press).

Inquests Team

Our team acts in Inquests and civil actions that arise from deaths in custody, deaths in prison and healthcare institutions, deaths during medical procedures, deaths in the armed forces, and deaths caused by individuals in a wide range of other circumstances.

We have extensive experience of representing police officers at Inquests and other tribunals. Most of the Inquests involving police officers are Article 2 (Jury) Inquests and, as well as providing high-quality advice and representation, we can provide officers with the high-level of support they are likely to require during Inquests that typically receive significant media attention.

Notable cases include:

  • The Inquest into the death in custody by suicide of Roseanne Irvine at HMP Maghaberry held in 2007. This inquest was monitored by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the subject of a report into the imprisonment of women (NIHRC- ‘The prison within’ by Professor Phil Scraton and Dr Linda Moore.  2007). The inquest jury came to an unprecedented verdict which then formed the backbone of civil proceedings in the High Court on behalf of the family. The inquest was nationally reported and subject to extensive commentary. On the basis of this inquiry, the Coroner made representations to the Government recommending the holding of a Public Inquiry arising.
  • The inquest into the death of the assistant chief constable of Wiltshire (Press).
  • Re Matthew Seddon (2015): An Article 2 Inquest following an IPCC investigation into the death of a teenager following a Police pursuit on the A33 in Reading. The driver, who was the sole occupant of the car, was thrown into the road after colliding with the central reservation. He was hit by one of the pursuing vehicles and died at the scene.
Instructing Us

Would you like to know more?

If you require help or advice please contact our clerking team.

Call +44 (0)20 7353 0711 or email clerks@pumpcourtchambers.com.

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