Guidance on giving evidence at an inquest

Witnesses usually give evidence from the witness box at the front of court, near the Coroner. The Coroner may allow family members to give evidence from their seat at the front of the Court, if it would be physically or emotionally difficult for them to give evidence from the witness box.

All witnesses must swear to tell the truth at the start of giving evidence. It’s a criminal offence to lie when giving evidence under oath in a Coroner’s Court.

It’s usual for witnesses at Birmingham Coroner’s Court to give evidence by reading out their witness statement to the Court, where the statement isn’t disputed or if the person who made the statement can’t attend. Any evidence should be given in plain English, explaining any technical terms.

The Coroner will be the first person to ask each witness questions, and will ask most of the questions. Other people may ask questions too, but the questions may only be about who the deceased was, and how, when and where they died. The Coroner will stop witnesses from answering any questions that aren’t appropriate.