Becoming a Coroner

How to be come a Coroner introductory guide by the Chief coroner to download

It is appropriate for a lead relevant local authority to contact the Ministry of Justice and the Office of the Chief Coroner for advice concerning the recruitment and appropriate competition procedure for the office of Coroner. The Coroners’ Society is happy to give informal advice and to put the relevant Council in contact with the Ministry of Justice and the Office of the Chief Coroner. Guidance will be issued by the Chief Coroner in consultation with Lord Chancellor (Ministry of Justice) on coroner appointments. It is import to follow such guidance as no appointment is effective without both the Chief Coroner and the Lord Chancellor consenting to an appointment. Please note it is often inappropriate to engage the retiring Coroner as technical advisor to an appointment process as this can give an appearance of potential bias and unfairness should candidates apply from the locality, particularly if an assistant coroner in the same area applies.

Please note that when the Coroner and Justice Act 2009 is implemented, the validated registered medical practitioner for 5 years will no longer be accepted as the basic qualification to apply to become a coroner. The 2009 Act is likely to be implemented in summer 2013.

This Society includes amongst its members all coroners appointed. The objects of the Society include, inter alia, the establishment and maintenance of contact with H.M. Government and the protection of the rights and interests of coroners.

All coroner appointments are made under the Coroner and Justice Act 2009.

For Coroners holding office at the time of the implementation of the 2009 Act under paragraph 3 of Schedule 22 to the 2009 Act, the main provisions of the 1988 Act are repealed (which will be at the same time as the 2009 Act is implemented) are to be considered as the senior coroners for their respective areas. Similarly, anyone who is a deputy coroner or an assistant deputy coroner is to be considered an ‘assistant coroner’ for the corresponding area.

 

Under the 2009 Act there will be no appointments of those without the legal qualification fro judicial appointments of five years. However those who hold coronial office only by virtue of a medical only qualification under the Coroners Act 1988 will be entitle to continue in office as a senior coroner or an assistant coroner but will not be qualified to apply for a new appointment under the 2009 Act without first satisfying the legally qualified judicial-appointment condition on 5 year basis.

 

There will be one senior coroner for each coroner area who will be assisted by one or more assistant coroners. Coroner areas will overtime be enlarged so that in the main Senior Coroners will be whole–time appointments. Should the need arise area coroners may be appointed to the coroner area.

 

All coroner appointments will be made by local authorities and will be subject to the consent of the Chief Coroner and the Lord Chancellor before such appointment is effective.

 

 

SCHEDULE 3      Section 23

APPOINTMENT ETC OF SENIOR CORONERS, AREA CORONERS AND ASSISTANT CORONERS

 

PART 1

APPOINTMENT OF SENIOR, AREA AND ASSISTANT CORONERS

 

Appointment of senior coroners

 

1 (1) The relevant authority for each coroner area must appoint a coroner (the “senior coroner”) for that area.

 

(2) In the case of a coroner area that consists of the areas of two or more local authorities, the relevant authority for the area must consult the other authorities before making an appointment under this paragraph.

 

(3) A person may not be appointed as a senior coroner unless the Lord Chancellor and the Chief Coroner consent to the appointment of that person.

 

Appointment of area and assistant coroners

 

2 (1) The Lord Chancellor may by order require the appointment, for any coroner area, of—

(a) an area coroner, or a specified number of area coroners;

(b) a minimum number of assistant coroners.

 

(2) Before making an order under this paragraph in relation to a particular coroner area, the Lord Chancellor must consult—

(a) the Chief Coroner, and

(b) every local authority whose area falls within the coroner area (or, as the case may be, the local authority whose area is the same as the coroner area).

 

(3) The relevant authority for a coroner area in relation to which provision is made under sub-paragraph (1) (a) must appoint an area coroner or, as the case may be, the number of area coroners specified for the area in the order.

 

(4) The relevant authority for a coroner area in relation to which provision is made under sub-paragraph (1) (b) must appoint at least the number of assistant coroners specified for the area in the order.

 

(5) A person may not be appointed as an area coroner or assistant coroner unless the Lord Chancellor and the Chief Coroner consent to the appointment of that person.

 

PART 2

QUALIFICATIONS OF SENIOR, AREA AND ASSISTANT CORONERS

 

3 To be eligible for appointment as a senior coroner, area coroner or assistant coroner, a person must—

(a) be under the age of 70, and

(b) satisfy the judicial-appointment eligibility condition on a 5-year basis.

 

4 (1) A person who is a councillor for a local authority, or has been during the previous 6 months, may not be appointed as the senior coroner, or as an area coroner or assistant coroner, for a coroner area that is the same as or includes the area of that local authority.

 

(2) In the application of this paragraph to the Common Council, the reference to a councillor is to be read as a reference to an alderman of the City of London or a common councillor.

 

PART 3

VACANCIES; FUNCTIONS OF AREA AND ASSISTANT CORONERS

 

Filling of vacancies

 

5 (1) This paragraph applies where a vacancy occurs—

(a) in the office of senior coroner for an area, or

(b) in an office of area coroner for an area.

 

(2) The relevant authority for the area must—

(a) give notice in writing of the vacancy to the Lord Chancellor and the Chief Coroner as soon as practicable after the vacancy occurs;

(b) appoint a person to fill the vacancy under paragraph 1 or 2 (as the case may be) within 3 months of the vacancy occurring, or within whatever further period the Lord Chancellor allows;

(c) give notice in writing of the appointment of a person to fill the vacancy to the Lord Chancellor and the Chief Coroner as soon as practicable after it is filled.

 

6 (1) This paragraph applies where—

(a) a vacancy occurs in an office of assistant coroner for an area, and

(b) the vacancy causes the number of assistant coroners for the area to fall below (or further below) the minimum number specified under paragraph 2(1) (b).

 

(2) Within 3 months of the vacancy occurring, or within whatever further period the Lord Chancellor allows, the relevant authority for the area must appoint a person to fill the vacancy.

 

Person to act as senior coroner in case of vacancy

 

7 (1) This paragraph applies where a vacancy occurs in the office of senior coroner for an area.

 

(2) Subject to sub-paragraph (3), the area coroner for the area (or, if there is more than one such area coroner, whichever of them is nominated by the relevant authority for the area) is to act as senior coroner for the area while the office remains vacant.

 

(3) Where there is no area coroner for the area, whichever assistant coroner for the area is nominated by the relevant authority for the area is to act as senior coroner for the area while the office remains vacant.

 

(4) In the case of a coroner area that consists of the area of two or more local authorities, the relevant authority for the area must consult the other authority or authorities before making a nomination under this paragraph.

 

(5) A person who acts as senior coroner for an area by virtue of this paragraph is to be treated for all purposes of this Part of this Act (except those of this paragraph and paragraphs 1 to 5 and 9 to 19 of this Schedule) as being the senior coroner for the area.

 

Functions of area and assistant coroners

 

8 (1) An area coroner or assistant coroner for an area may perform any functions of the senior coroner for the area (including functions which that senior coroner has by virtue of section 2 or 3)—

(a) during a period when that senior coroner is absent or unavailable;

(b) at any other time, with the consent of that senior coroner.

 

(2) Accordingly a reference in a statutory provision (whenever made) to a senior coroner is to be read, where appropriate, as including an area coroner or assistant coroner.

 

PART 4

TERMS OF OFFICE OF SENIOR, AREA AND ASSISTANT CORONERS

 

Status of office

 

9 The offices of senior coroner, area coroner and assistant coroner are not to be regarded as freehold offices.

 

Vacation or termination of office

 

10 A senior coroner, area coroner or assistant coroner must vacate office on reaching the age of 70.

 

11 (1) The senior coroner or an area coroner or assistant coroner for an area (“the relevant coroner area”) must vacate office immediately if—

(a) he or she becomes a councillor for a local authority, and

(b) the area of that local authority is the same as or falls within the relevant coroner area.

 

(2) In the application of this paragraph to the Common Council, the reference to a councillor is to be read as a reference to an alderman of the City of London or a common councillor.

 

12 The senior coroner or an area coroner or assistant coroner for an area may resign office by giving notice in writing to the relevant authority for the area. But the resignation does not take effect unless and until it is accepted by the authority.

 

13 (1) The Lord Chancellor may, with the agreement of the Lord Chief Justice, remove a senior coroner, area coroner or assistant coroner from office for incapacity or misbehaviour.

 

(2) The Lord Chief Justice may nominate a judicial office holder (as defined in section 109(4) of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (c. 4)) to exercise the functions of the Lord Chief Justice under sub-paragraph (1).

 

Discipline

 

14 Chapter 3 of Part 4 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (c. 4) (discipline) applies in relation to the offices of senior coroner, area coroner and assistant coroner as it would apply if those offices were listed in Schedule 14 to that Act.

 

Salary of senior and area coroners

 

15 (1) The senior coroner for an area is entitled to a salary.

 

(2) The amount of the salary is to be whatever is from time to time agreed by the senior coroner and the relevant authority for the area.

 

(3) If the senior coroner and the relevant authority cannot agree about an alteration in the amount of the salary—

(a) either of them may refer the matter to the Lord Chancellor;

(b) the Lord Chancellor may determine the amount of the salary and the date on which it is to become payable.

Any alteration in the amount of salary is to take effect in accordance with the Lord Chancellor’s determination.

 

(4) In making a determination under sub-paragraph (3), the Lord Chancellor must have regard—

(a) to the nature and extent of the coroner’s functions, and

(b) to all the circumstances of the case.

 

(5) The salary to which the senior coroner for an area is entitled under this paragraph is payable by the relevant authority for the area.

 

(6) This paragraph applies in relation to an area coroner for an area as it applies in relation to the senior coroner for an area (references to the senior coroner being read as references to an area coroner).

 

Fees payable to assistants

 

16 (1) An assistant coroner for an area is entitled to fees.

 

(2) The amount of the fees is to be whatever is agreed from time to time by the assistant coroner and the relevant authority for the area.

 

(3) The fees to which an assistant coroner for an area is entitled under this paragraph are payable by the relevant authority for the area.

 

Pensions for senior and area coroners

 

17 A relevant authority for a coroner area must make provision for the payment of pensions, allowances or gratuities to or in respect of persons who are or have been senior coroners or area coroners for the area.

 

Prohibition on receipt of fees etc

 

18 Except as permitted by or under this or any other Act, a senior coroner, area coroner or assistant coroner may not accept any remuneration or fee in respect of anything done by that coroner in the performance of his or her functions.

 

Other terms of office

 

19 Subject to the preceding provisions of this Part, the senior coroner or an area coroner or assistant coroner for an area holds office on whatever terms are from time to time agreed by that coroner and the relevant authority for the area.