25th July 2013

Many of the provisions of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 are finally being implemented on Thursday 25 July.  These will form the revised Coroners’ Rules and Regulations and are a significant step towards standardising the coronial system and gearing it more towards the needs of families.

INQUEST has been campaigning long and hard for root and branch reform of the coronial system, and was pleased to welcome the appointment of the Chief Coroner last September as the first step along this road.

Helen Shaw, co-director of INQUEST said:

“The implementation of these much-needed reforms is welcome. INQUEST has been campaigning, alongside bereaved families, for fundamental changes to the inquest system for over 30 years.

“Reducing delays, raising standards and improving the impact of inquest findings are important steps towards ensuring the process is both responsive to the needs of bereaved people and protects the wider public interest by preventing further deaths. The post of Chief Coroner will mean there is judicial oversight and leadership of the coroner service for the first time.

“But the lack of an appeals process, no independent inspection of the operation of coroner’s courts and scarcity of resources are cause for concern as are the potential cuts to legal aid for judicial review as that remains the only avenue for people to seek redress for poor decision-making by coroners.”


Notes to editors:

  1. Full background to coronial reform and the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 can be found on our website here

Coronial Reform Process

Nov 2009              Coroners and Justice Act 2009 receives Royal Assent

March 2010          Chief Coroner appointed

May 2010             Coalition government puts implementation on hold after general election

Oct 2010               WMS announces abolition of Chief Coroner in Public Bodies Bill

2010-2011            Campaign by INQUEST, the Royal British Legion, AvMA and bereavement charities to reverse government plans

Dec 2010              House of Lords votes against plans

Nov 2011              Government withdraws abolition plans on eve of second House of Lords debate on Bill

Sept 2012             Chief Coroner takes up post

March 2013          Consultation on new rules and regulations

July 2013              Implementation