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Inquests (Cleveland)

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many days in (a) 2001, (b) 2002 and (c) up to the last day of June 2003 (i) the Coroner, (ii) the Deputy Coroner and (iii) the Assistant Deputy Coroner for Cleveland sat on inquests; and what the regional average numbers of sitting days are for sitting coroners. [126355]

The information requested in respect of the Teesside Coroner's District is as set out in the table. I understand that additional sitting days were scheduled but not used where the inquests were not then ready to proceed. Dates for the opening of inquests only are excluded.Data on the national and regional numbers of coroners' sitting days are not held centrally.

Teesside coroner's district: sitting days



2003 (to end June)

Deputy Coroner272720
Assistant Deputy Coroner01810

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average time has been between deaths and inquests in Cleveland; what assessment he has made of the reasons for delays; and what the average time was in the other coroners' areas in the north-east in the last 12 months. [126356]

Where inquests have been completed, the average time taken between the report of a death and the inquest in the Teesside coroner's district in 2002 was about 34 weeks. Calculated on the same basis, the average time in other north-east coroners' districts is about 21 weeks, and the average for England and Wales is about 19 weeks.The Teesside coroner has attributed delays in a temporary loss of available coroner officer support during the year. Some delays are also said to be due to difficulty in obtaining timely post mortem examination reports because of a local shortage of pathologists. The coroner has recently secured some additional pathologist resources.