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Hendersons - Barristers' Chambers
Articles Inquests & Inquiries 1st May 2019

Administrative Court considers the use in an inquest of statistical evidence and the absence of clear cause of death on the issue of whether or not to leave causation to a jury

In R (on the application of Chidlow) v HM Senior Coroner for Blackpool and Fylde and others [2019] EWHC 581 (Admin) the Administrative Court (Hickinbottom LJ and Pepperall J) quashed a coroner’s decision that it was not safe to leave the issue of a causal link between a delay in the deceased receiving medical treatment and his death to a jury. The decision considers the second limb of the ‘Galbraith Plus’ test in the context of the question of whether causation could be proved by statistical evidence as to the prospects that the deceased might have survived had he received medical attention in good time. The Court concluded that (1) the lack of a clear cause of death will not, of itself, prevent a jury from being able to consider the possible causal effect of a delay in treatment, and (2) although bare statistical evidence alone is not sufficient to prove causation, where there is apparently credible additional evidence as to causation then it will usually be proper and safe to leave causation to the jury.

Read more in this alerter by Christopher Adams.


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