Clarke stands firm on coroner appeals

Profession

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has dropped plans to abolish the role of chief coroner but is refusing calls to reform the law on coroner’s appeals.

Clarke ‘U-turned’ on his plans to abolish the role - which was created by the previous government in 2009 but never filled - following a  campaign mounted by the British Legion among others.

However, he declined to give the chief coroner power to hear appeals. Instead, existing mechanisms for challenging a coroner’s decision will remain in place, he said, and “will avoid the need for expensive new appeal rights”. Lawyers have called on Clarke to implement the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 “in full”.

David Bott, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (Apil), said: “Bereaved families deserve to have a coroner service in which they can have confidence.

“Without a right to appeal, public confidence in the system will inevitably be diminished.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “The existing mechanisms for challenging a coroner’s decision will remain in place; decisions could still be contested by way of judicial review or a second inquest could be sought, by application by, or under the authority of, the Attorney General to the High Court.”

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