Constitutional Affairs Committee

Press notice 12 of Session 2005-06
20 January 2006


Constitutional Affairs Committee launches inquiry into Reform of the Coroners System and Death Certification in England and Wales

The Constitutional Affairs Committee has launched an inquiry into ‘Reform of the Coroners System and Death Certification’. The inquiry comes ahead of an expected draft Bill on this subject later in the year.

The Committee will consider:
» what problems there are with the existing system;
» existing proposals for reform;
» and the alternatives to the current system as practised in other jurisdictions.

The Government published a position paper on Reforming the Coroner and Death Certification Service in March 2004 ( Cm 6159) responding to the Third Report of the Shipman Inquiry (under Dame Janet Smith DBE) and the Report of a Fundamental Review 2003 into Death Certification and Investigation (the Luce Committee). The position paper stated that a Draft Bill and White Paper would be produced within one year. The draft Bill is now expected sometime in late Spring 2006.

Details of the first evidence session are as follows:

Tuesday 7 February , The Grimond Room, Portcullis House
Dame Janet Smith DBE

Details of further evidence sessions will be announced in due course.

Transcripts of the sessions will be available on the Reports and Publications page of the Committee’s website:

Call for evidence:
Submissions relating to the terms of reference above are invited from relevant interested parties. These should be sent to the Clerk of the Committee at the address above by Friday 17 February. An electronic version in MS Word or Rich Text format should also be submitted, either by e-mail to or on a disk and this should be accompanied by a letter stating clearly who the submission is from, together with relevant contact details. Submissions should be as brief as possible, and certainly no more than 3,000 words. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and it would be helpful to include a brief executive summary. Attention is drawn to the guidance on the submission of evidence which can be found via