The standard of proof for all short form conclusions at an inquest is the balance of probabilities” – Lady Arden JSC at [97]

The Supreme Court’s decision in Maughan, awaited since February, has, by a 3-2 majority, reaffirmed the lower Courts’ decision that the civil standard of proof now applies to suicide conclusions and extended that standard to unlawful killing conclusions. Before Maughan, Coroners and juries could and did conclude, on the balance of probabilities in a narrative conclusion, that the necessary elements of suicide – that the Deceased took his own life did so intending to kill himself or another – were present, but were unable to go on to reach a short form conclusion of suicide unless they were sure to the criminal standard. The same applied to unlawful killing conclusions. Following Maughan, there is now only one standard of proof.

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