Inquest Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Inquest, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Inquest?

A judicial inquiry put forward by a county officer or judicial officer incases where there has been mysterious deaths or accidents and which has violence involved too.A jury may or may not be appointed and incase where jury is not appointed, it becomes the duty of the coroner (judicial officer).

History and Meaning of Inquest

An inquest is a legal inquiry into the cause of sudden or unexplained death, often held in public, with or without a jury. The word "inquest" comes from the Latin "inquirere," meaning "to inquire."

In the Middle Ages, the coroner system was established in England to investigate sudden or suspicious deaths. The coroner was responsible for determining the cause of death in order to prevent murder and to protect the property of the victim. Coroner's inquests were held to gather evidence and determine the cause of death, and were often open to the public.

Today, inquests are still held in many countries including England, Canada, and Australia. Inquests may be held in cases of medical malpractice, workplace deaths, deaths in custody, and other situations where the circumstances surrounding the death are unclear.

Examples of Inquest

  1. The inquest into the death of a man who died in police custody will be held next week.

  2. The coroner has decided that an inquest is necessary to determine the cause of the man's sudden death.

  3. After the inquest, the jury concluded that the death was accidental.

Legal Terms Similar to Inquest

  1. Inquiry: A process of investigating or examining something. An inquiry is a broader term than an inquest and can refer to any type of investigation.

  2. Coroner: An official who is responsible for investigating deaths, particularly those that occur suddenly or under suspicious circumstances.

  3. Autopsy: An examination of a body after death to determine the cause of death. Autopsies are often performed as part of an inquest.