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Editorials

New standard of proof for suicide at inquests in England and Wales

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l4745 (Published 29 July 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l4745

Rapid Response:

Re: New standard of proof for suicide at inquests in England and Wales

It’s about time that the inquest process is adapted to societal change since suicide was decriminalised over half a century ago. Bereaved families should be put in the front & centre of the new policy. Timely processing of unexplained deaths is a key step in bringing some form of closure for the loved ones. Lowering the burden of proof may reduce the need for lengthy legal arguments, which in turn can result in speedy conclusion of the proceedings. If one inquests takes less time on average, there is a good chance that waiting times will be shortened, bringing a much needed system improvement.

We also need more help for the bereaved families in the form of a liaison service. Let’s not forget supporting the professionals involved in the care of people who end there lives. In a nutshell, a more humanistic & less legalistic approach to such human tragedies is a step in the right direction.

Competing interests: No competing interests

03 August 2019
Rais Ahmed
Consultant Psychiatrist
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS FT
Derby