The Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC MP, has given his consent to the family of Private Cheryl James to apply to the High Court for a new inquest into her death.
The application was made to the Attorney General on the basis that the original inquest made insufficient enquiry into the circumstances of her death and because new evidence is now available that was not put before the inquest in December 1995.
The Attorney General granted his consent because he concluded that it was in the interests of justice for the application for a new inquest to go forward and to be heard by the High Court.
The Attorney General has no power to order a new inquest, this can only be ordered by the High Court on an application made by the Attorney General or with his consent. The Attorney General gives his consent to an application being made in cases where he considers, based on the information in the application, that it is appropriate for it to proceed to a Court hearing.
The High Court may order a new inquest to be held where it is satisfied that it is necessary or desirable in the interests of justice that another inquest should be held.
The Attorney General takes decisions on whether to apply to the High Court for an inquest as part of his public interest function, independently of Government and strictly on the basis of the evidence.
Section 13 of the Coroners Act 1988 allows an application to be made to the High Court for an order requiring an inquest, or a fresh inquest, to be held.