Unlawful killing at inquests: Clarity or confusion?

Medico-Legal Journal, Ahead of Print.
This article examines the standard of proof for unlawful killing in coronial proceedings. Historically, the criminal standard of proof governed inquest findings of unlawful killing. In R (Maughan) v Her Majesty’s Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire, the Supreme Court resolved the important question of whether the criminal or civil standard governed inquest conclusions of unlawful killing. The court concluded that the correct standard of proof for all conclusions in coronial proceedings is the balance of probabilities. This article argues that whilst preserving differing standards of proof in coronial proceedings was no longer defensible and Maughan has provided welcome clarity, unanswered questions remain concerning the implementation of this fundamental change.

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