What happens when there is a death during active service?
When there is been a death in service, the MoD will carry out its own investigation into what happened, to see if lessons can be learnt from the fatality.
A civilian investigation, called an inquest, is also carried out if:
- There is reason to suspect that the deceased died a violent or unnatural death;
- The cause of death is unknown, or
- The deceased died while in custody or state detention.
Types of deaths that are investigated
The types of deaths that are investigated by the MOD may involve:
- Malfunctioning equipment
- Unsafe working practices
- Inadequate training
- Medical negligence
- Heat injury
Article 2 Inquests
The purpose of the inquest process is to establish who the deceased was, and where, when and how they died.
The inquest is led by a Coroner, who may decide to conduct a more extensive inquiry called an Article 2 Inquest.
These types of inquests are appropriate where:
- The death was caused by the State and;
- There appears to have been failures that were serious and systematic and;
- The State was aware of these failures but did not act.
You can find out more about what inquests involve and the steps that are followed in the lead up to an inquest.
Where can I get support if I am going through an Inquest?
Both of the following charities can provide support for families going through the inquest process relating to the loss of a loved one who was also serving in the forces: