Being called to present before the Coroners Court proceedings can be a confronting experience and to be unexpectedly named in an investigation or as an interested party in an inquest can be even more daunting, especially when personal or business reputation are at risk.

Service providers, manufacturers or individuals may unexpectedly become involved in Coroners Court proceedings if the court considers they or their company hold evidence or may be the subject of a potentially adverse finding in an investigation or inquest. This may occur in the case of accidental or suspicious death or fire, particularly where the cause cannot be readily determined or recommendations could be made to prevent future fatalities. Coronial inquests can be wide-ranging and receiving notification from the court can come as a shock, as parties may not even have known of a possible connection with the often tragic events being investigated.

The court, in investigating deaths and fires, does not make findings of criminal guilt or civil liability, but its hearings and findings are usually public and can attract state, national and sometimes international attention.

Parke Lawyers special counsel, Roland Müller, says being named in