This Commons Library briefing paper deals with coroners' investigations and inquests in England and Wales.Jump to full report >>
Part 1 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (the 2009 Act), which was largely implemented in July 2013, has introduced a new concept of the coroner’s ‘investigation’ into a death. An inquest may form part of the investigation.
This briefing paper deals with the law in England and Wales. It provides information about:
A coroner must investigate a death where (s)he is made aware that the body is within that coroner’s area and (s)he has reason to suspect that:
The purpose of an investigation is to establish:
The scope of the coroner’s investigation must be widened to include an investigation of the broad circumstances of the death, including events leading up to the death in question, where this wider investigation is necessary to ensure compliance with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to life).
A Ministry of Justice publication, Guide to Coroner Services (2014) provides information about the coroner investigation process, including the inquest, and sets out the standards of service that coroners should meet.
Other Commons Library briefing papers provide further information about coroners and inquests:
Challenging coroners' decisions, (number 00525);
Legal aid for representation at an inquest (number 04358);