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HMRC internal manual

Information Disclosure Guide

Sharing Information outside HMRC: sharing information with courts, tribunals and HMRC appeals: disclosure based on non-Binding Orders: coroners and coroner’s courts

The role of coroners

Coroners usually limit their request for information to details of the past employment record of the deceased.

Whenever you deal with an enquiry from a coroner (or procurator fiscal) or their staff, you should remember that they are performing an important public function and that they will often be in close contact with the deceased’s family.   However, any information that HMRC holds about a deceased person’s affairs may only be disclosed if it is lawful to do so.

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Procedure to follow

Whenever you deal with an enquiry from a coroner (or procurator fiscal) or their staff, you should remember that they are performing an important public function and that they will often be in close contact with the deceased’s family. However, any information that HMRC holds about a deceased person’s affairs continues to be legally protected by the CRCA.

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Court Orders

If the coroner requires information from HMRC then he or she must provide a Coroner’s Notice which complies with Schedule 5 to the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (CJA 2009).

In order to comply with the CJA 2009:

i.              the coroner must be a senior coroner (or an area or assistant coroner acting with the senior coroner’s consent).  If you receive a notice from an area or an assistant coroner then you must ask them to provide written confirmation from the senior coroner that they have consented to that particular coroner exercising this function

ii.             the notice must be sent to HMRC and refer to a specific inquest or investigation (it will not be enough for the coroner to quote Schedule 5 of the CJA 2009)

Although a coroner has an ability to require the personal attendance of any individual, you should always seek to provide a written statement or copies of documents alone.

Northern Ireland

HMRC is able to provide information to a Northern Ireland coroner in the same way that it can provide information to a senior coroner. 

This is because sections 17A-17C of the Coroners Act (Northern Ireland) 1959 (CANI 1959) as amended by Schedule 11 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, now corresponds to the provisions in Schedule 5 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

If you consider there are grounds to object to a notice given under s17A of CANI 1959, you should first contact your Security Information Management (SIM) Team. If a challenge is agreed, the objections should be raised under ss17A(4) and 17B(2)-(3) of CANI 1959.

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Public Interest disclosures

HMRC is unable to make any disclosure to coroners in the public interest (see IDG60000 for further details). If a coroner asks you to provide information because it is in the ‘public interest’ you must refuse and tell him or her that you require a notice to be issued under Schedule 5 to CJA 2009.

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Relevant Legislation

Schedule 5 to the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

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Further guidance

If you require any further assistance or advice about dealing with coroners, please contact your Security Information Management Team.