Posted on November 10, 2011 by


Letter from The Rt.Hon.William Hague,Re coroners reform


I firmly believe that the coroners system is in need of reform,the Government proposals are designed to ensure that it achieves this as quickly and efficiently as possible. It may be useful if I explain how these proposals willdeliver this urgently needed improvement ,but without projected set up costs of £10.9m.and running costs of £6.6m.per annum of a Chief Coroner.Such costs are not justifiable in the current financial environment.


Under the Government’s proposalals, the office will be retained in statute, but key functions transferred to either the Lord Chief Justice or Lord Chancellor.this will ensure that the Government protects the independence of coroners when they are exercising their judicial functions, whilst at the same time ensuring that they deliver a high standard of service to he bereaved.Thiswill allow for the implementation of a number of key reforms and achieve improvements in the service.

These include: 



The Lord Chief Justice will have the power to issue training regulations for the first


time, which can include specific requirements for certain cases,such as those involving the death


of service perrsonnel. The Lord Chancellor(who must agree the regulations)is clear that better,


more targeted training of coroners for military inquests is necessary:



The Government is making it easier for coroners to transfer inquests in


England and Wales and for the first time allowing the transfer of service personnel cases to and


from Scotland.this will minimise the inconvenience that can be caused to families suffering from


a traumatic loss if an inquest is conducted significant distance from their home and



The new Ministerial Board,supported by a Bereaved Organisations Committee,will


focus on matters of policy,standards of service and other administrative aspects of the delivery


of service by coroners to ensure consistency of service across England and Wales.

The Government is also currently consulting on a new National Charter, which sets for the first time the avenues of redress which can be sought,including how the bereaved can challenge a coroners decision or make a complaint about the coroner or the service provided.


     These plans will ensure that the objectives which the establishment of a Chief Coroner sought to achieve can be met robustly and speedily,without incurring the cost of establishing the Office itself. They will deliver a much better service to users of thecoronial system,not least to the bereaved


families of our brave military personnel.


Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.


Yours sincerely


the Rt.Hon.William Hague MP.