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Coroners: Mesothelioma

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 21 June 2007

To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of procedures in coroner’s courts for dealing with deaths due to mesothelioma. (144027)

A coroner must hold an inquest into deaths which are reported to him which he has reasonable cause to suspect of being unnatural. This would usually include diseases contracted at work such as mesothelioma. Investigations into these kinds of deaths will continue in a reformed system, but will be governed by national standards set by a new chief coroner.

To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice what representations her Department has received on the conduct of inquests into deaths caused by mesothelioma; and if she will make a statement. (144028)

Ms Harman: I have received the report of the British Lung Foundation on the investigation of mesothelioma deaths. My officials attended the launch of the report and have met subsequently with representatives of the British Lung Foundation. The report’s recommendations will be taken into account as reform proposals are further developed.