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Maughan, R (On the Application Of) v Her Majesty's Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire [2019] EWCA Civ 809 (10 May 2019)

Maughan, R (On the Application Of) v Her Majesty's Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire [2019] EWCA Civ 809 (10 May 2019)

This appeal involves questions of importance concerning the law and practice of coroners' inquests where an issue is raised as to whether the deceased died by suicide. The questions can be formulated as follows: 

(1) Is the standard of proof to be applied the criminal standard (satisfied so as to be sure) or the civil standard (satisfied that it is more probable than not) in deciding whether the deceased deliberately took his own life intending to kill himself?

(2) Does the answer depend on whether the determination is expressed by way of short-form conclusion or by way of narrative conclusion?

Those are the questions falling for decision in this case; but to an extent they have also required some consideration of the position with regard to unlawful killing. [1]

...in cases of suicide, the standard of proof to be applied throughout at inquests, and including both short-form conclusions and narrative conclusions, is the civil standard of proof. Since, in the present case, that is how the Coroner instructed the jury as to the narrative conclusion which they might reach, the present challenge by the appellant cannot be accepted. [97]

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