Legal Definition and Related Resources of Inquest

Meaning of Inquest

In broadest sense any judicial inquiry implying an examination or trial of an issue of fact. In restrictive meaning, indicates a body of men appointed by law to inquire concerning certain matters submitted to them. The primary purpose of an inquest so called is to conduct an investigation in order to ascertain whether a crime has been committed. while the term may be used in relation to other types of inquiries, it is largely confined to inquiring into and determining the manner in which a deceased came to his death and if the death be occasioned by criminal means , who is guilty thereof. At common law there was also a type of inquest known as inquest of office . Any alien , at common law, could not acquire real property but if he did so, in order to ascertain whether or not he was an alien, the public officer held an inquest at the instance of the government . For a history of inquest of office see Atlantic & P. R. Co. v Mingus, 165 U.S. 413, 17 S.Ct. 348, 41 L.Ed. 770.

Synonyms of Inquest


  • determination of damages
  • examination
  • hearing
  • inquiry
  • interrogation
  • investigation
  • judicial inquiry
  • legal investigation
  • quaestio
  • quest
  • questioning
  • review
  • search
  • search into facts
  • Associated Concepts: assessment of damages
  • civil inquest
  • coroner’s inquest

Related Entries of Inquest in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Inquest in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Inquest in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Inquest in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Inquest in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Coroner, Inquisition, Jeofaile.


This term is a noun.

Etimology of Inquest

(You may find inquest at the world legal encyclopedia and the etimology of more terms).

late 13c., enquest, an-queste “legal or judicial inquiry,” especially one before a jury, from Old French enqueste “inquiry” (Modern French enquête), from Vulgar Latin *inquaestia (source also of Italian inchiesta), from Latin inquisita (res) “(a thing) looked into; an inquiry,” from femenine past participle of Latin inquirere “to seek after, search for” (see inquire). The form with in- prevailed from 18c.


See Also

  • Law Dictionaries.
  • Clarendon, Constitutions of.


  • Inquest in Law Enforcement

    Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of inquest.


    See Also

    • Law Enforcement Officer
    • Police Work
    • Law Enforcement Agency

    Further Reading



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