The Coroners Rules 2013 are in effect from 25 June 2013
Outer Temple welcomes the reforms to the coronial system which take effect from today. There is no dispute that the changes set out in the Coroners and Justice Reform Act 2009 are long overdue.
In many ways some will say that they do not go far enough. The original provision for appeals to the Chief Coroner fell by the wayside, and nothing in the Act changes the local resourcing structures which can often be the root cause of inconsistent standards of service. The new provisions do to a considerable extent re-enact the current legislative framework, such that the reforms are not likely to herald a revolution in and of themselves.
But the raft of powers given to the Chief Coroner to drive up (or at least even out) standards is considerable, and it is clear that HHJ Peter Thornton QC has been astute in exercising them. His lecture at the September 2012 annual conference of the Coroners’ Society of England and Wales set out a broad ten-point plan for the following twelve months. Areas to be targeted included training, legal and practical guidance, specialist coroner groups, complaints and support procedures. The second point in the plan was to introduce new Coroners Rules, which with effect from 25 June 2013 has been done. The reforms therefore represent a determined step in the right direction, and it will be interesting to see how the ten-point plan has changed – if it has changed at all – by the time of the next annual conference.
Read the Coroners Rules 2013 here.