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25 February 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)

Author bio

Lynda Reynolds


Lynda is a Partner and Head of the Inquest Team that forms part of the Clinical Negligence Department in the London office. She has considerable experience in assisting families with inquests that relate to deaths in hospital or care homes, where medical negligence is suspected.

She has been instructed on Article 2 inquests, inquests with juries and complicated medical inquests where numerous experts have been instructed. Where necessary she will make submissions on the Coroner’s power to issue Prevention of Future Deaths reports. Her inquest role combined with subsequent civil claims ensures that she is a specialist on Fatal Accident Act Claims. She is recognised in both UK Chambers & Partners and Legal 500.

In addition to her role in the Inquest team Lynda has a caseload of complex clinical negligence matters which include cerebral palsy, brain injuries, spinal injuries and cauda equina claims.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


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