Policy paper

Coroner reform: improving death investigation in England and Wales

This publication was published under the 2005 to 2010 Labour government

This document contains the following information: Coroner reform: improving death investigation in England and Wales.

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This document contains the following information: Coroner reform: improving death investigation in England and Wales.

This publication sets out the Government’s draft proposals to reform the current coroner system in England and Wales for consultation, in order to address some of the weaknesses identified in the report of the Fundamental Review of death certification and coroner services (Cm. 5831, June 2003; ISBN 0101583125) and in the third report of the Shipman Inquiry (Cm. 5854, July 2003; ISBN 010158542X). The draft Bill has three main aims: to improve the service to bereaved people and others affected by the work of coroners; to introduce a national leadership framework and strengthen local services; and to ensure investigations of deaths and inquests are carried out in a more effective and co-ordinated manner. Key proposals in the draft Bill include: the establishment of a coroners’ charter with guidelines and standards to make clear the services bereaved people can expect and new rights to appeal against decisions concerning them; the introduction of a national leadership framework through a Chief Coroner and support staff, and an advisory Coronial Council; and new powers for coroners to obtain evidence for investigations and to impose reporting restrictions when deemed to be in the public interest. The publication contains the provisions of the draft Bill together with detailed explanatory notes written in plain English and set out on each facing page, as well as an illustrative draft of the ‘Charter for Bereaved People who come into contract with the Coroner Service’. Responses to the proposals in the draft Bill should be received by 8 September 2006.

This Command Paper was laid before Parliament by a Government Minister by Command of Her Majesty. Command Papers are considered by the Government to be of interest to Parliament but are not required to be presented by legislation.