Powers of the coroner
Produced in partnership with Fiona Canby of Temple Garden Chambers
Powers of the coroner

The following Corporate Crime practice note Produced in partnership with Fiona Canby of Temple Garden Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Powers of the coroner
  • Types of coroner
  • Appointment of coroners
  • Basis of powers and duties
  • The scope of powers to investigate
  • Investigations by others
  • Power to require evidence to be given or produced
  • Action to prevent other deaths
  • Sanctions and offences

Types of coroner

Coroners are independent judicial officers. Coroners must now be lawyers, although previously medical doctors were appointed and some remain in post. Since 2013 coroners are:

  1. the Chief Coroner

  2. senior coroners

  3. area coroners

  4. assistant coroners

The position of the Chief Coroner was introduced by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (CJA 2009). Its responsibilities include:

  1. directing investigations to be undertaken

  2. overseeing the transfer of cases between coroners

  3. keeping a register of investigations lasting more than year

  4. the monitoring of and training for investigations into deaths of service personnel

  5. reporting to the Lord Chancellor

  6. regulating training

  7. conducting an investigation themselves

  8. providing guidance to coroners

The Chief Coroner’s guidance notes and law sheets are available publicly and practitioners will find it helpful to keep up to date with the guidance given.

Each area has a senior coroner (no longer HM coroner of a district). An area means the area of a local authority or the combined areas of two or more local authorities. Functions of the senior coroner can be performed by area and assistant coroners when the senior coroner is absent or unavailable or with the senior coroner’s consent. Reference in a statutory provision to a senior coroner is to be read as including an area coroner or assistant coroner.

An area coroner (a new role introduced by the CJA 2009) can be a full or part time

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