There is an excellent blog by Joy Hibbins, founder and director of Suicide Crisis, a charity which runs a Suicide Crisis Centre in Cheltenham, UK in today’s Huffpost.
Joy explains why bereaved families need legal support at Inquests and describes how unrepresented families sometimes describe feeling that this is a “David and Goliath” situation.
I simply cannot understand why we do not allow bereaved families representation at Inquests. Surely it is only right that they should have an independent (not government appointment) solicitor – particularly where it is an article two inquest when a state organisation such as the NHS or the police may have failed to protect the life of a person. There can be no other proceedings where representation is so badly needed.
At Hilary Meredith Solicitors, we represent as many families “Pro Bono” at Inquests as we can. Military Inquests, in particular, are so complex and families would be lost without legal representation.
As Joy says, we need to make it possible for families who have been bereaved to have access to legal advice from an early stage. And should we really expect them to represent themselves in court, in such a harrowing and emotionally distressing situation?