A pre-inquest hearing into the death of Mark Duggan has been told that there may not be an inquest at all.
Mr Duggan was shot by police on 4 August in Tottenham, north London, which was followed by days of rioting.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission said sensitive material relating to police decision-making may have to be withheld from the coroner.
It said its investigation had been delayed and its findings may not be available until early autumn.
That would be more than a year after the shooting.
If no inquest can be held, Coroner Andrew Walker said an inquiry would have to be arranged, in which some evidence may be heard behind closed doors.
A coroner's officer said a provisional date of 28 January had been set for proceedings - but only if the eight-week inquest was given the go-ahead during a review on 23 October.
Mr Duggan, a father-of-four, was a passenger in a minicab which was stopped in Tottenham by police as part of a planned operation.
He died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.
'Breakdown in confidence'
Initially, the IPCC suggested Mr Duggan had shot at officers, a claim that ballistic tests proved to be untrue.
Anger over the shooting sparked riots in Tottenham on 6 August, with the unrest spreading across London and to other parts of England.
At another pre-inquest hearing in February, the IPCC admitted making a "mistake" by saying Mr Duggan had fired at officers.
That hearing heard the family of Mr Duggan has suffered a "complete breakdown in confidence" in the police watchdog.