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Chief Coroner’s Eighth and Ninth Annual Reports to the Lord Chancellor

Volume 742: debated on Tuesday 19 December 2023

I am pleased to lay and publish the Chief Coroner’s combined eighth and ninth annual reports to the Lord Chancellor on the operation of coroner services under section 36 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (“the 2009 Act”). The joint report covers both 2021 and 2022.

The joint report has been produced to cover the crucial work done across the coroner service, and by the Chief Coroner himself, during the latter part of the pandemic period and thereafter to support recovery plans. It also provides an opportunity to align the reporting cycle with the preceding calendar year and, therefore, with related reporting processes such as the annual coroner statistics publication.

In particular, the Chief Coroner’s report sets out:

The work that he, as well as coroners, their officers and their staff have undertaken to manage the effects of the covid-19 pandemic;

The continuing work to promote consistency in the resourcing of, and practices in, coroner’s offices across England and Wales;

The training and guidance that coroners and their officers have received, and engagement with a wide range of stakeholders; and

Recommendations to improve coroner services further.

The annex to the report sets out, for 2021 and 2022, the number of cases by coroner area that have lasted over 12 months.

I am very grateful to His Honour Judge Thomas Teague KC for the work he has done over the reporting period in guiding and supporting coroners through the challenges of the covid-19 pandemic, building on the work of his predecessor, His Honour Judge Mark Lucraft KC. I am particularly grateful for his work with local coroner areas on the post-pandemic recovery of the coroner system.

I am grateful, too, to all coroners, and their officers and other staff, for supporting the Chief Coroner and HM Government to improve services for the bereaved, and for their valued frontline work.

The report will be available online, at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/chief-coroners-combined-annual-reports-2021-to-2022.

[HCWS158]