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Coroner Services

Volume 542: debated on Tuesday 27 March 2012

The Government are today publishing the new “Charter for Coroner Services”.

Charter for Coroner Services

The charter sets out for the first time the standards that bereaved family members and others who come into contact with coroner services across England and Wales can expect to receive. It also sets out what someone can do if they are unhappy with the level of service they have received.

The charter has been revised following a public consultation in 2011 and, as proposed in the consultation, is being published in a single booklet with an updated version of the Ministry of Justice’s “Guide to Coroners and Inquests”. Combining the guide and charter in this way will ensure that those coming into contact with coroner services have accessible and concise information on the processes and standards in a coroner inquiry and know their rights under the system. It will also ensure that all coroners’ offices in England and Wales are aware of the standards they should be meeting.

The guide and the charter apply to current coroner services under the Coroners Act 1988. We will update the booklet as and when changes to the coroner system are introduced.

The charter is an integral part of the Government’s plans for reform of the coroner system and, alongside the appointment of a chief coroner and implementation of most of the provisions in part 1 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, will help to ensure much more consistent standards of service between coroner areas.

The charter comes into effect today and we are distributing hard copies of the booklet to all coroners’ offices across England and Wales, as well as publishing it on the Justice and Directgov websites.

Copies of the guide and charter booklet have also been placed in the Libraries of both Houses, in the Vote Office and in the Printed Paper Office. The guide and charter is also available online at:


Appointment of the Chief Coroner

Under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, appointment of the chief coroner is a matter for the Lord Chief Justice, in consultation with the Lord Chancellor. Detailed discussions are taking place and I will make a further statement once these discussions have concluded.