COVID-19 secure inquest hearings

The Coroner Service commitment to running inquest hearings safely during COVID-19 pandemic.

In whatever capacity you're attending court to take part in an inquest, your safety is the priority of the Coroner Service. Find out below what you can expect from us and what we ask of you, to keep everyone involved safe.

What you can expect from us

The layout of the court room will provide:

  • enough space for social distancing
  • everyone with a clear line of sight to the other people in the hearing

We might need to use more than one courtroom so people can spread out. We'll also ensure social distancing in all other rooms you may need to use during the course of the inquest.

What we need you to do

Enter and leave the courtroom as directed by staff. This will help us make sure there is always a safe space between you and other people.

Minimise the number of times you move around our court. If you do need to move around make sure you keep a safe distance.

What you can expect from us

We'll ensure there's enough space for you to keep a safe distance in:

  • waiting areas
  • deliberation rooms
  • consultation/private rooms

Some areas may be closed to visitors. Chairs may be taped up or have a sign on them to stop you from sitting too close to someone else.

What we need you to do

Make sure you keep a safe distance from other people in the building.

Please do not:

  • remove tape from any chairs to sit down or move any furniture within the courtroom.
  • enter areas that are closed to visitors

What you can expect from us

We'll provide clear directions around the building to limit the number of times you’ll need to pass people. This might include a one-way system in corridors or asking you to enter lifts and toilets one at a time. A small number of staff will be there to guide you.

What we need you to do

Follow directions to minimise the amount of people you will pass by. We know this might mean it takes longer to move around the building, so please be patient.

What you can expect from us

Members of the jury will have a place to store any refreshments and personal belongings. We will not be supplying cups or glasses to drink from.

What we need you to do

Bring your own refreshments and drinking container. Do not bring metal cutlery.

This'll include:

  • microphones
  • keypads for doors
  • inquest bundles

What we need you to do

Avoid touching anything you do not need to. Please do not share individual copies of an inquest bundle if you’re given one.

What you can expect from us

Make sure your oath is taken without touching the Holy book/scripture. A Holy book/scripture will be present and visible to you.

What you're allowed to do

You're welcome to bring your own Holy book/scripture with you.

What you can expect from us

Give you hand sanitiser to use where you may not be able to easily leave to wash your hands with soap and water e.g. in the courtroom.

What we need you to do

Use hand sanitiser on entering the building and wash your hands with soap and water when you can. This is the most effective way of cleaning your hands.

You can:

  • bring your own hand sanitiser in to the court
  • wear a face covering whilst in the building but may be asked to remove it during the court hearing

What you can expect from us

Clean the building regularly and follow public health guidelines.

What we need you to do

Let us known if you see something you think needs cleaning.

What you can expect from us

Make sure witness support is available, if not in person then by phone.

Coroners Court Support Service

What we need you to do

Carefully consider who you bring with you. We understand that you may want to bring someone with you to support you on the day and you will be able to do so. We ask that you think about this in advance and bring as few people as possible.

What you can expect from us

Currently there are no first aiders on site. 

In the event of a:

  • medical emergency 999 will be called.
  • emergency evacuation, staff will escort you from the building to a safe place.

What we need you to do

Carefully consider your own personal circumstances and if it is safe for you to attend.

We will be regularly reviewing the practical applications of these arrangements in accordance with government guidelines to ensure the safety of both court staff and visiting members of the public.

Contact details

The Coroners Court and Offices
Beacon House
Whitehouse Road
Ipswich
IP1 5PB
  • Telephone: 0345 607 2040
  • Open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm.