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Armed Forces: Coroners' Inquests

Volume 694: debated on Tuesday 24 July 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Drayson on 13 June (WA 259-60), how many meetings the inquest cell has held to review the Ministry of Defence’s processes for supporting coroners, broken down by date; what stakeholders attended those meetings; and what was their outcome. [HL4868]

Since its formation in February 2007, the inquest cell has held daily discussions with the Oxfordshire coroner’s office to discuss best practice in the management of future inquests. Moreover, the team also works with coroners across England and Wales in support of “home coroner” procedures. Discussions concerning policy and procedures are held on a daily basis with a range of stakeholders, including representatives of the single services, and MoD policy, legal and operational staff.

The outcome of these meetings has been the development of best practice, agreement on joint ways of working and development of policy on disclosure of information, all of which are intended to provide better support to bereaved families and coroners. As a result of the work of the inquest cell and other government efforts, the backlog of inquests in Oxfordshire has now been addressed, with only four military and four civilian inquests outstanding from before May 2006.