R (Maughan) v Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire [2019] EWCA Civ 809 – important Court of Appeal decision on standards of proof in inquests

Jonathan Hough QC acted for the Chief Coroner of England and Wales in this landmark public law appeal concerning the standard of proof to be applied to conclusions of suicide in inquests.  The appeal decided that the civil standard of proof (balance of probabilities) applies to such findings, contrary to general understanding prior to the case that the criminal standard (beyond reasonable doubt) applied.  The Court also addressed the standard to be applied to unlawful killing conclusions, deciding that the criminal standard of proof remains valid in that regard.  Because of the significance and ramifications of the case, the Chief Coroner intervened to assist the Court and contributed substantially to the appeal.  When handing down judgment, the Court of Appeal took the unusual step of granting the appellant permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, having regard to the importance of the issues raised.

The judgment can be found here.