Medical Witnesses

This page is for doctors and medical professionals who have treated a patient in life or carried out a post mortem examination.  Doctors who have provided an independent opinion report should see the expert witness page. 

Presence of medical witnesses at the inquest:

If you have been involved in the care and treatment of a patient who has died, or have carried out a post mortem examination, the Coroner may require you to give oral evidence at the inquest hearing.

In most cases, you will be contacted directly or via your hospital's legal department to check your availability.  We will list the inquest for hearing at a time you are able to attend and inform you by letter or email.

Setting a date and time for the inquest:

Occasionally when we are listing a case with many witnesses, we cannot accommodate everyone's preferences and will simply require you to attend on a particular date.  We will give substantial notice if this is necessary.  For some of these complex inquests, we issue a formal witness summons.  If you receive a summons either in the post or by personal service, please ensure that you complete the reply slip and return it to the office.

Who can attend?:

Consultants are welcome to bring junior doctors for professional experience if they wish.  A member of your Trust's legal department may wish to attend with you. 

How to find us:

When attending for the hearing, this page shows how to find us.

Arrival at the inquest:

Please arrive at least 10 minutes before the hearing is due to start.

Being called to the witness stand:

Please arrive at least 10 minutes before the hearing is due to start.

Sensitivity at the inquest:

The Coroner will ask you to present a summary of your main findings.  When doing this, please be mindful that the deceased's family will probably be present and be prepared to explain in layman's terms.  You may also be asked questions by the family and other properly interested persons or their legal representatives.  If you are asked something outside the scope of your expertise, it is completely acceptable to say so. 

Familiarisation visit

If you have not attended the Coroner's Court before and would like to see a case being heard, please call the office and we will arrange a familiarisation visit.


We will reimburse you for your reasonable travelling expenses.  This does not usually include taxi fares, but we may be able to make an exception by prior arrangement.  Please keep all receipts.  You may also claim an attendance fee.  There are standard rates set down by the Ministry of Justice according to the length of the inquest. 

You Can also obtain copies of the above from the court clerk when you are present.