Coroners

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on coroners. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs. Related information can also be found under burial and cremation.

Standard Notes

DateDescription
09.04.2014Challenging coroners'decisions
There is no right of appeal from an inquest. However, a coroner's decision or the outcome of an inquest can sometimes be challenged by way of an application under section 13 of the Coroners Act 1988 or an application for judicial review.
01.04.2014Coroners' investigations and inquests
Part 1 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (the 2009 Act), which was largely implemented in July 2013, repealed and replaced most of the Coroners Act 1988. The 2009 Act has introduced a new concept of the coroner's 'investigation' into a death.
11.03.2014Legal aid for representation at an inquest.
Legal aid for representation at an inquest is generally only available through the 'exceptional funding' criteria of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, which came into force on 1 April 2013.
25.11.2011The Office of the Chief Coroner
The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 provides for the appointment of a new Chief Coroner and associated officers, although most of the relevant provisions have not been implemented. Following the election, the Government first announced that the Office of the Chief Coroner would be abolished, because of the costs involved, and that some of the Chief Coroner's functions would be transferred to suitable alternative bodies. It then proposed to leave the Office on the statute book, but to transfer some of the functions of the Chief Coroner to the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor, and to set up a Ministerial Board and supporting Bereaved Organisations Committee. The changes were to be effected largely through the Public Bodies Bill [HL] and associated regulations. These proposals attracted considerable criticism, both from within Parliament, mainly during consideration of the Public Bodies Bill [HL], and from interested organisations. On 22 November 2011, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Kenneth Clarke, announced that, having listened to concerns, he had decided to implement the Office of the Chief Coroner.
06.11.2009Coroners and Justice Bill: Lords amendments
This note outlines the principal amendments made to the Coroners and Justice Bill during its Lords stages. Of particular significance are the amendments relating to secret inquests, the use of intercept evidence, the "free speech" proviso to the offence of inciting hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation, the "crime of passion" defence to murder and the introduction of an Independent Commissioner for Terrorist Suspects.

Research Papers

DateDescription
19.03.2009Coroners and Justice Bill: Committee stage report
The Coroners and Justice Bill deals with a wide range of matters including: coroners; death certification; murder, infanticide and suicide; prohibited images of children; hatred against persons on grounds of sexual orientation; criminal evidence, investigations and procedure; sentencing; legal aid; criminal memoirs and data protection.
22.01.2009Coroners and Justice Bill: coroners and death certification
This paper is one of two which examine the main proposals of the Coroners and Justice Bill 2008-09. It deals with the provisions relating to coroners and other matters set out in Part 1 of the Bill. See also Research Paper 09/06.

Select Committee Reports

DateDescription
07.07.2009Legislative scrutiny: Finance Bill;
Government response. Human Rights Joint Select Committee report [Commons and Lords]
12.05.2009Legislative scrutiny: Coroners and Justice Bill (certified inquests).
Human Rights Joint Select Committee report [Commons and Lords]
17.03.2009Legislative scrutiny: Coroners and Justice Bill.
Human Rights Joint Select Committee report [Commons and Lords]
20.01.2009Coroners and Justice Bill.
Justice Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

DateDescription
06.07.2011CHIEF CORONER
That this House believes the judicial position of the Chief Coroner would provide much needed national leadership for the coroners system, significantly improve the experience of bereaved ...
05.03.2008CORONERS BILL AND THE TREATMENT OF MESOTHELIOMA PATIENTS
That this House urges the Government to make the passing of the draft Coroners Bill a priority; calls for the needs of the bereaved families to be put at the centre of the coroners' ...
19.02.2008CORONERS' SERVICE
That this House recognises the need to reform the coroners' service; believes that the unacceptable delays in concluding inquests into the deaths of those members of the armed forces ...
19.02.2008CORONERS' SERVICE
That this House recognises the need to reform the coroners' service; believes that the unacceptable delays in concluding inquests into the deaths of those members of the armed forces ...

Lords Library Notes

DateDescription
20.04.2009Coroners and Justice Bill (HL Bill 33 of 2008-09). LLN 2009/004
Coroners and Justice Bill. House of Lords Library Note 2009/004

Glossary

  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses