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Inquest Information Evening

To lose a child or children is heart-breaking and yet as a mother or father of a son or daughter whose death was unexpected or in particular circumstances, we not only have to navigate our grief, but we may also have to cope with an inquest. For other family members - brothers, sisters, grandparents - dealing with this legal process as well as offering support to grieving parents while grieving themselves, coping with an inquest can also be painful and difficult.

This information evening offers an overview of the inquest process, advice and suggestions about preparation and an idea of what will happen on the day.Our speakers are Andrew Miller QC, Chair of Trustees of The Compassionate Friends, who will offer non- legalistic advice advice from the position of a bereaved parent who has gone through the inquest process and seen the effect of this on those who do not have any legal or other knowledge about inquests. Solicitor, Sefton Kwasnik, will be our second speaker covering information on legal and technical issues both before and during the inquest.

Some of the topics our speakers address are:

  • What exactly is an inquest?
  • Why is there going to be an inquest in respect of my child or sibling’s death?
  • What can I expect from an inquest and what should I not expect?
  • What do I need to know to prepare myself for an inquest?
  • Are there things that I can do or should do before the inquest?
  • Should I get legal assistance?
  • What to expect at the Inquest and what not to expect?
  • Legal and technical issues at the inquest?

ABOUT OUR SPEAKERS

Andrew Miller QC

Andrew is a bereaved father. His son, Fabian, died aged 19 in a drug-related accident in January 2015. Andrew began attending TCF support group meetings about five months after Fabian’s death. He became an elected Trustee in 2016, re-elected in 2019. He has also offered support to parents facing an inquest and co-facilitates a support group for bereaved parents and siblings in North West London. He was elected Chair of Trustees of TCF in 2019. At his appointment as Chair, Andrew commented: "I am honoured to be Chair of such an amazing charity that has provided me and so many others with so much help and care and which shines a light of hope that we can all carry on our own individual journey. I am committed to spreading the knowledge and work of TCF to both the bereaved and non-bereaved".

In his professional life, Andrew has 30 years of practice as a top ranked commercial, construction and insurance junior barrister and QC. He now practices principally as a Mediator.

Sefton Kwasnik

Sefton qualified as a solicitor in 1981 and has a wealth of experience across criminal law defence, inquest representation and serious accidents.He has represented many families at inquest and advises upon the issues that sudden, or any death, may raise. He has extensive experience dealing with the police throughout his professional career.

He has represented many members of The Compassionate Friends at inquest helping with common concerns, for example:

  • Difficulty getting full information about the circumstances surrounding the death
  • Difficulty speaking to police Real concerns over the way investigations are carried out
  • Difficulty in receiving information from The Coroner
  • Not knowing where to turn for help
  • Feeling left out in the cold

Sefton suggests that early professional assistance can help try to deal with these issues and can ease some of the strain by offering to listen and if appropriate making formal enquiries. Although every situation is unique, his is always striving to learn more and to try to help those who are grieving.

Sefton is currently Director of Ozon Solicitors Ltd, based in Greater Manchester.

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