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FEATURED BLOG POST:

This was probably suicide: the criminal standard of proof is no longer required.

R (Maughan) v HM Senior Coroner Oxfordshire and others [2018] EWHC 1955 (Admin) 26 July 2018 judgment here.

In a roller-coaster judgment the High Court has revolutionised the approach to the conclusion of suicide in the coroner’s courts and has determined that whether the deceased died as a result of suicide is to be determined on the civil standard of proof – on the balance of probabilities.

Judgments such as this are an extremely important reminder to all lawyers of the dangers of making the assumption “it must be right because that’s how it has always been”.Applying the doctrine of stare decisis means the Court would doubtless now say to us all that “whatever you have all been assuming was always the case, you were actually always wrong”.

The Claimant submitted that decades (if not centuries) of case law had established that a verdict of suicide at an inquest could only be returned on the criminal standard of proof; Leggatt LJ and Nicol J, however, found that the authorities simply did not bear this out.

Click here to read the full blog post by Bridget Dolan QC and Debra Powell QC. 

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