Alison has specialised in inquests and coronial law, and associated judicial review, for over 15 years. She also has a significant police law practice which covers civil claims, judicial review and misconduct, and she continues to maintain her long-term personal injury practice. Additionally, Alison acts as a legal advisor to the General Dental Council.
Recent high profile examples of her work include acting as counsel to the inquests into the deaths of Poppi Worthington and Cerys Yemm and Matthew Williams. Alison Hewitt was appointed HM Senior Coroner for the City of London (a part-time post) in 2016 and also sits as an Assistant Coroner in the coroner areas of Manchester (West) and Surrey.
In 2002 Alison represented two Coroners at the Shipman Inquiry and her particular interest and expertise in coronial law grew from there. She is ranked in Band 1 for inquests by Chambers UK who record that clients consider Alison to have "... a complete grasp of the material, is technically very good and her advocacy is superb" and is “Extremely experienced and very knowledgeable about coronial law. She handles difficult briefs with tenacity without being too aggressive”.
She pioneered the role of “Counsel to the Inquest”, having first acted in that capacity in 2004 in the long-running inquest into the death of Robbie Powell Deceased. Since then she has fulfilled the role in over 15 further lengthy, complex and high-profile inquests. Her other clients include Chief Constables of Police, private prisons, doctors and NHS Trusts, care homes, local authorities, child care agencies, construction companies and other employers, and families.
Additionally, as an experienced Coroner, Alison has herself conducted numerous Article 2 compliant inquests, including many in which the deceased person was in custody or detained under the Mental Health Act. As a result of all her work, Alison’s particular areas of expertise are complex inquests, often involving state agencies. These include deaths in custody, deaths involving the Police or following restraint, deaths resulting from domestic violence and deaths raising issues as to the clinical care provided for physical or mental illness.
Her inquest work includes the following:
- Paul Chin [ongoing] – Representing a Care Home in which the Deceased died from an acute illness.
- Gracie Foster [ongoing] – Representing an NHS Trust and its medical staff in relation to the death of a 4 year old who was discharged from hospital and died shortly afterwards.
- Terrence Smith  - Counsel to the Inquest for HM Senior Coroner for Surrey. An 11 week inquest into the death of a man suffering excited delirium who died under police restraint whilst detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act.
- Poppi Worthington  – Counsel to the Inquest for HM Senior Coroner for Cumbria. The Deceased was a 13 month old baby whose cause of death raised complex medical, pathological and factual issues.
- Michael Thompson  - Five week inquest before HM Senior Coroner for Southwark.. The Deceased suffered Mental Health difficulties and died after setting fire to his flat whilst awaiting a Mental Health Act assessment. She represented the Approved Mental Health Professional and the London Borough of Bromley.
- Cerys Yemm and Matthew Williams  – Counsel to the Inquest for HM Senior Coroner for Gwent. Shortly after being released from prison Matthew Williams assaulted and killed Cerys Yemm. He died shortly afterwards after being restrained and tasered by the police.
- Susan Norman  – Counsel to the Inquest for HM Coroner for Cornwall. An inquest concerned with the death of a woman killed in a landslide on to her home which raised long-term planning issues in relation to the County Council.
- Zane Gbangbola  – Counsel to the Inquest for HM Senior Coroner for Surrey. This inquest concerned the death of a 7 year old boy who died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Kamal Nour  – Representing the Chief Constable of Norfolk in a case in which the Deceased killed himself whilst “under siege” from the police.
- Van Hagan  – Representing Birmingham City Council’s Children’s Department. This was an inquest into the drug related death of a mother who was suspected to be the victim of coercive control.
- Andrew Pimlott  – Representing the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police. The Deceased died from burn injuries after being tasered by a police officer.
- Maher, Roberts and Dunsby  – Representing the investigating police force at the “Brecon Beacons” inquest in relation to an issue of disclosure by the coroner to the Media.
- Lloyd Butler  – Representing the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police. This case concerned the death of a detainee who died in a cell in police custody.
- Maria Stubbings  – Counsel to the Inquest for HM Senior Coroner for Essex for the preparatory stages of the investigation into the death of a woman who was killed by her partner, Marc Chivers, who had previously been imprisoned for murder in Germany.
- Maureen Leaver  – Representing the Family of an elderly woman who died after being detained under the Mental Health Act and suffering hypothermia as a result of medication (in West Sussex Coroner’s Court).
- Rachel Slack, Auden Slack and Andrew Cairns  – Representing the Chief Constable of Derbyshire in a case in which a mother and her young son were killed by her former partner. The case raised issues about the care given by mental health services and the protection provided by the police (in Derby Coroner’s Court).
- Jimmy Mubenga  – Representing three Detention Custody Officers who had custody of the deceased when he died as a result of their restraint on an aircraft during his deportation (in West London Coroner’s Court).
- Nunes and Markland  – Counsel to the Inquest for HM Coroner for Hampshire. The two deceased men were shot by the police whilst carrying out an armed robbery.
- Ian Tomlinson  – Counsel to the Inquest for Sir Peter Thornton QC (former Chief Coroner) sitting as ADC for the City of London. The deceased was a passer-by who died during the G20 protests in London after having been pushed by a police officer.
- Naomi Bryant  – Counsel to the Inquest for HM Coroner for Hampshire. This case concerned a woman who was murdered by a life-sentenced prisoner who had been released on licence.
- Colette Lynch  – Counsel to the Inquest for Sir Christopher Pitchers sitting as ADC for Warwickshire. This case concerned a young woman who was killed by her mentally unwell partner and it raised issues about the protection given to her by the police, social services and mental health services.