The Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario serves an important public interest, and health professionals and organizations have certain duties and obligations to cooperate and report. Given the nature of their investigations, inquiries from the Coroner often come at a stressful time for individuals and organizations. Although Coroner’s investigations are not adversarial in nature, in some circumstances an adversarial process (e.g. a civil proceeding) is being contemplated by the family of the deceased. Experienced legal counsel can provide confidential advice, and assist health professionals and organization to understand their rights, risks and obligations.
Sometimes, instead of just a Coroner’s investigation, a formal Coroner’s Inquest is convened. A Coroner’s Inquest is a formal investigation of a death and a subsequent public hearing before a jury. Ultimately, the jury can make recommendations to prevent similar situations going forward, and each inquest produces a large quantity of publicly available information about a person’s death.
Health professionals or organizations may want to seek formal standing at the inquest so as to be able to participate in the inquest and inform any recommendations by the Coroner’s jury.
At Wise Health Law, we have a deep and thorough understanding of the inquest process and the rules that govern it, and have represented many clients at both inquests and related investigations.