House of Commons Library

Challenging coroners' decisions

Published Wednesday, May 1, 2019

This Commons Library briefing paper considers how to challenge a decision of a coroner or the outcome of an inquest in England and Wales.

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This briefing paper deals with the law in England and Wales.

Means of challenge

There is no right of appeal as such from an inquest. However, it is sometimes possible to challenge a coroner’s decision, or the outcome of an inquest, by way of an application under section 13 of the Coroners Act 1988, or an application for judicial review. 

Anyone seeking to challenge a coroner's decision or the outcome of an inquest should take specific legal advice as quickly as possible to establish whether there are grounds to do so, and the relevant time limit.

Proposed new system of appeal never implemented

Section 40 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 provided for a new system of appeal against some decisions and determinations made in connection with investigations and inquests into deaths.  This section was never brought into effect and has now been repealed.

Complaint about conduct of coroner

It is sometimes possible to complain to the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office about the conduct of the coroner.

Ministry of Justice guide

In February 2014, the Ministry of Justice published a Guide to Coroner Services. This provides information about the coroner investigation process, including the inquest, and sets out the standards of service that coroners should meet. It also explains what someone can do if they feel those standards are not met. 


Commons Briefing papers SN00525

Author: Catherine Fairbairn

Topics: Coroners, Death

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