As part of the investigation, the court will request written statements and the Coroner/Procurator Fiscal will then decide who to call as a witness. You may not need to attend the inquest/inquiry if your evidence is unlikely to be controversial. If you are called as a witness, the Coroner may ask you to read through your statement, or may take you through the statement in court.
The Coroner will decide who meets the criteria as “interested persons” and they are permitted to ask you questions. The questions are not a cross-examination (as in other courts) and you are not obliged to answer the questions if the answer would incriminate you. Interested party status is automatically granted to those who advise the coroner that they will be legally represented. On occasion the coroner may change the status of a witness to a PIP. Often this simply means that the coroner considers that this person may be able to assist further.
When giving evidence you must be honest and trustworthy and make sure that any evidence or documents you write, or sign, are not false or misleading. You should recognise and work within the limits of your competence.
You must take reasonable steps to check the information and must not deliberately leave out relevant information.
If you have been summoned, or cited in Scotland, and do not attend you may receive a penalty, which could be a prison sentence or fine.
If there is a risk of you being prosecuted in connection with a death or you are found to have some responsibility for the death, it is very important that you contact us on 0345 772 6100 for further advice.