Skip to content

Coroners could investigate deaths of stillborn babies

The Government has launched a consultation on proposals which would mean that Coroners would have the power to hold inquests into the deaths of babies who are stillborn. This would apply for babies born after 37 weeks.

Historically, Coroners have only been able to hold inquests when a baby has shown signs of life after being born, but the inquest has been narrow in scope. Parents have been campaigning for many years for this to be overturned, such as Jack and Sarah Hawkins whose daughter Harriet was stillborn in April 2016.

An important part of the Coronial process is preventing future deaths and it is argued that, by allowing inquests into the deaths of stillborn babies, learning points could be identified which would prevent this happening to other families.

Rates of stillbirths are at their lowest on record, but clearly this is a time which is very difficult for families and it is hoped that the inquest process will help them to answer questions and come to conclusions about what happened.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks and will close on 18 June 2019. Any proposal would only apply in England and Wales. Click here for a link to the consultation.

For further information, please get in touch.


Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

Follow us on LinkedIn

Keep up to date with all the latest updates and insights from our expert team

Take me there

What we're thinking