When a pregnancy sadly ends in stillbirth, powers to investigate extend only to the hospital, and in some circumstances, an investigation body funded by the Department of Health and Social Care.

Coroners in England and Wales do not, at present, have the power to open an inquest. Their powers are limited to investigating deaths where there were some signs of life at birth.

The consultation, which closes in June 2019, will look into whether Coroners should have wider powers to investigate all full-term stillbirths (from 37 weeks). 

Whilst such investigations may not replace those undertaken by the hospital, it is hoped that the Coroner will offer a transparent and independent system and consider lessons for the future.

Many hope that in turn, pregnancy and childbirth become safer and fewer parents have to experience the tragedy of losing a baby.

If you would like to have a free, informal discussion about how we may be able to help in such circumstances, please do get in touch (jessica.atkin@freeths.co.uk), or contact one of the heads of our national team:

Jane Williams, Partner: 0845 272 5724 jane.williams@freeths.co.uk

Carolyn Lowe, Partner: 01865 781 019 carolyn.lowe@freeths.co.uk

Karen Reynolds, Partner: 0845 272 5677 or karen.reynolds@freeths.co.uk