22nd May 2012

INQUEST welcomes the appointment of HHJ Peter Thornton QC to the newly-created role of Chief Coroner.  The appointment is the culmination of a lengthy battle to create and retain the post, which the government has already attempted – and failed – to abolish.

This is a significant step for the campaign to fundamentally reform the coronial system that INQUEST has been leading for over a decade.  It is also testimony to the bravery and tenacity of bereaved families who have shared their experiences with policymakers and the work of colleagues in other organisations supporting bereaved people.

Each year tens of thousands of bereaved families grappling with the inquest process are forced to endure lengthy delays and an archaic, unaccountable system. These failures also leave the coronial service unable to fulfil its vital function of preventing unnecessary deaths.

The government has stated that the office of the Chief Coroner will, alongside other reforms, establish more effective, transparent and responsive justice and coroner services for victims, witnesses, bereaved families and the wider public. INQUEST looks forward to working with the Chief Coroner towards achieving this and delivering a better service to bereaved people.