This is the official website of the Coroner’s Inquest into the death of Alexander Litvinenko who died on 23 November 2006 at University College Hospital in London. It provides the latest information on the Inquest including details of hearings and evidence.
An inquest is a fact-finding inquiry into a violent or unnatural death, a death of unknown cause, or a death which has occurred in prison or state detention, to establish who has died, and how, when and where the death occurred.
The inquest into Mr Litvinenko’s death was opened on 30 November 2006 by Her Majesty’s Coroner for Inner North London, Dr Andrew Reid, and was immediately adjourned to allow the Metropolitan Police Service to carry out investigations. In a hearing conducted on 13 October 2011 Dr Reid noted that he intended to inquire into possibility of a senior judge being appointed to conduct the inquest.
Sir Robert Owen, a judge of the High Court of England and Wales, was appointed on 7 August 2012 as Her Majesty’s Assistant Deputy Coroner for Inner North London to hear the inquest.
On 17 January 2013 Sir Owen published a Provisional List of Issues grouped under a series of sub-headings which included: background; the circumstances of Mr Litvinenko’s death; post-mortem and toxicology evidence; responsibility for his death; and preventability.
On 18 December 2013 he ruled that the issues of preventability (whether the British State was aware of any risks to Mr Litvinenko’s life and, if so, whether it failed to take reasonable steps to protect him from those risks) and Russian State responsibility (whether the Russian State was responsible for Mr Litvinenko’s death) should be withdrawn from the scope of the inquest.
Since his appointment Sir Robert has held a series of preliminary public hearings covering issues such as practical and administrative issues relating to the inquest, the scope of the inquest, witness anonymity, a Public Interest Immunity (PII) application and the Home Secretary’s decision not to turn the inquest into a public inquiry.
Coroner’s new title
On 25 July 2013 new coroner Rules and Regulations were introduced by the Ministry of Justice under the auspices of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. As a result Sir Robert Owen’s new title is now “Her Majesty’s Assistant Coroner for Inner North London”.