R (Maughan) v HM Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire judgment today

26 July 2018

Today’s judgment in R (Maughan) v HM Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire changes the standard of proof for the conclusion of suicide to the balance of probabilities.

In this case, the Coroner considered that there was insufficient evidence that the deceased intended to kill himself and, accordingly, did not leave a short-form conclusion of suicide to the jury. The jury thereafter returned a narrative that, by nature of its findings, amounted to a conclusion of suicide on the balance of probabilities.

Leggatt LJ, giving the judgment of the court, analysed the relationship between criminal and coronial proceedings and concluded that, given the nature and function of a modern inquest, there is nothing which can in principle justify applying in coroner’s proceedings the criminal standard of proof.

Alison Hewitt was instructed by Oxfordshire County Council Legal Department for the Coroner.

View the full judgment here


Alison Hewitt

Call 1984

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