Where a person or family loses a loved one in unexplained or uncertain circumstances the tragedy is overwhelming and often compounded by the legal system.
Separate and distinct from any Civil Court action for wrongful death or negligence, against any wrongdoer, the deceased persons family will have to go through the trauma of the Coroner’s Court hearing where where they may be left at sea and unsure of the process in seeking to establish the truth of how their family member or loved one died. As non lawyers, it is always advisable to seek professional legal advice in particular in assessing whether there is a good case for compensation before the Courts. Expert medical, forensic and other professional advice may be needed and your solicitor should be in a position to secure and present the best case on your behalf . The outcome of the Coroners Court can have a critical bearing on the case for compensation.
The State do not provide legal aid for representation at the Coroners Court and families have to pay there own way unless they can find a solicitor to take the Coroner Court matter on pro bono. There are many solicitors in a position to act on this basis, but it is desirable to engage a lawyer who is familiar with the Coroners Court and who frequently advises on issues around health and safety law, police and prison law, medical negligence and even marine and aviation law to touch on a few areas.
In a very helpful judgement delivered yesterday the 1st June, 2011 by Mr. Justice O’Neill in the High Court awarded a family of a young girl who died in Crumlin Children’s hospital their reasonable legal costs on the basis that the facts and circumstances of the case were complex enough that the family were entitled to present their best possible case at the the inquest Coroners Court.
The judgement makes clear that only complex cases will properly be covered under the Civil Liability Act but it is still a most welcome decision for an area where legal aid is lacking.
Lack of effective legal aid is a barrier to justice and a particular bugbear of this lawyer !!!!!!
see attached judgement.