When an autopsy is performed to determine the cause of death and law enforcement investigates to determine if a homicide occurred, this is an example of an inquest.
- a judicial inquiry, as a coroner's investigation of a death
- the jury or group holding such an inquiry
- the verdict of such an inquiry
Origin of inquestMiddle English enqueste ; from Old French ; from Vulgar Latin an unverified form inquaesita, feminine past participle of an unverified form inquaerere: see inquire
- Law a. An investigation conducted by a coroner, sometimes with the aid of a jury, into the cause of death of a person when the cause may be criminal.b. A hearing conducted by a judge or magistrate to determine damages when a defendant has defaulted.c. A judicial inquiry into a specified matter, such as a person's mental condition.
- An investigation or inquiry: “In his inquest into the earliest days of Rome he had to confront the question of the relation between history and myth” (Robert Ackerman).
Origin of inquestMiddle English enqueste, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *inquaes&imacron;ta, thing inquired into, alteration of Latin inqu&imacron;s&imacron;ta, feminine past participle of inqu&imacron;rere, to inquire into; see inquire.
From Old French enqueste (Modern French enquête), from Vulgar Latin inquirere, or from Medieval Latin inquesta < in + Latin quaesita.
inquest - Legal Definition
- An inquiry into a suspicious death conducted by a coroner or medical examiner.
- An inquiry into a particular subject matter by a special jury.
- A judge’s determination of damages after a defendant’s default.