1 March 2021 | Comment | Article by Lynda Reynolds

Hugh James wins right for fresh inquest into death of Michael McVey - after 7 year battle by family

Lynda Reynolds, Head of the Inquest Team at Hugh James and Edward Ramsay of 12 King's Bench Walk, have been successful in quashing the inquest of Michael McVey dec’d, which was originally conducted in July 2013.

The family did not have legal representation at the original inquest and were never happy with the Coroner’s conclusions. They spent years trying to obtain an Attorney General Fiat to allow them to apply to the High Court (Admin division), in order to quash the inquest under S.13(1)(b) of the Coroner’s Act 1988, but were unsuccessful.

After instructing Hugh James, they managed to obtain independent expert evidence that contradicted the findings of the Coroner. An Application was made to the Attorney General who granted the FIAT, and following a short hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice the Application was approved [1] and the Inquest was quashed.

The family will now be able to proceed with a fresh inquest.

The focus of the family’s complaint was that the cause of death was incorrect and did not reflect the medical records. The family’s expert had comprehensively reviewed the medical records and provided a sound, logical opinion on why the Coroner’s findings were incorrect. Lord Justice Bean and Mr Justice Johnson accepted that there was sufficient evidence to consider that the conclusion was incorrectly reached and quashed the original inquest.

Lynda Reynolds, Senior Associate and Head of the Specialist Inquest Team at Hugh James, said:

It was a long and difficult task for the family to reach this stage. They did not have access to specialist representation at the first inquest, and were not able to fully participate in the inquest and therefore were unhappy with the Coroner’s conclusions. They spent many years trying to obtain the FIAT, which is required before an Application to the High Court can be made without legal representation and were unsuccessful.

Hugh James were able to provide specialist advice and this Application has now been successful. I consider access to specialist representation for families is essential for complex inquests. This family did not have that, and it has taken them 7 years to have the original findings quashed. That in an unbelievable amount of time to fight for justice, and their perseverance should be commended.

[1] [2020] EWHC 3733 (Admin)

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