An ‘Article 2 Inquest’ refers to an inquest where Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) is engaged. This is a technical area but, in essence, Article 2 will generally apply where it is suspected that a person died whilst ‘in the care of the state’.

When might an Article 2 inquest be held?

An Article 2 inquest will always be held if your loved one has died whilst under the care or protection of the state, or whilst in state custody so, for example, if they have died in immigration detention, in prison, or in police custody. This is because when the state detains someone, the state then assumes a duty to ensure that person’s right to life is protected; in other words, they have a duty to keep them safe.

This is also the case where a person has died whilst been detained under the Mental Health Act in an inpatient ward.

An Article 2 inquest might be held in cases where the state or a private body is implicated, even though a person was not under their direct care. For example, if a person has died following a police chase, if military authorities do not provide adequate equipment leading to a soldier’s death, or if a state body such as the military, prison staff, or hospital staff fail to acknowledge and address a person’s immediate and real risk of suicide leading to their death.

An Article 2 inquest might also be held where it is considered that systematic or policy based failures have caused a person’s death, for example, where a person has died due to unsafe hospital policies.

How is an Article 2 inquest different from other inquests?

An Article 2 Inquest means that the state have to carry out an ‘enhanced investigation’ into the death. Whereas a ‘traditional’, non-Article 2 inquest will look at when, where, and how a person died, an Article 2 Inquest also looks at the wider circumstances surrounding a person’s death.

In short, this means that an Article 2 inquest is likely to be more detailed than a traditional inquest and may well consider issues which would otherwise be deemed to fall outside of the scope of a non-Article 2 inquest. Article 2 inquests can also qualify for additional funding which would otherwise not be available.

We are experienced in representing families in Article 2 Inquests and understand this technical area of law. If the coroner has not already confirmed the status of the inquest then we can make submissions on your behalf as to why an Article 2 Inquest should be held in your loved one’s case to ensure a full investigation is undertaken.

Following the inquest, we can also help you bring a claim for damages where it is demonstrated that there were negligent failures in the care or treatment provided, which caused or contributed to the death.

Will I have to pay legal costs?

There are a number of ways to fund specialist representation for an inquest or bringing a civil claim. If an Article 2 Inquest is being held, it is more likely that Legal Aid will be available to help fund representation and legal advice. Please see our page on funding for more information.

We recommend you get in touch for a no obligation chat, so we can advise you on the options available for you and which may best suit your particular case.

Useful links

What is an inquest?

What is a pre-inquest review hearing?

Inquests: a glossary of legal terms

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