Maughan, R (on the application of)v Her Majesty’s Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire [2020] UKSC 46 (13 November 2020)

majority 3 to 2 appeal dismissed

This appeal… concerns the standard of proof, or degree of conclusivity, required for the determination of the result of an inquest into a death where the question is whether the deceased committed suicide. The result of an inquest may be given in a single short form conclusion (using simply the word suicide) and/or in a brief narrative statement (“a narrative conclusion”). This appeal has to consider whether the degree of conclusivity is the same in both cases, and what it is. [1]

…a common standard applying to both unlawful killing and suicide is more consistent with principle and removes an inherent inconsistency in the determinations made at an inquest. It reflects the general rule for the standard of proof in civil proceedings… the arguments in favour of applying the rule that in most civil proceedings the civil standard will apply are stronger than those against, and that this Court should take the opportunity of so deciding. [96]