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Coroners Act Review

Consultation is sought on a limited review of the Coroners Act. Consultation closes mid-November.

Coroners Act Review

Background

The Coroners Act 2006 has now been in place for five years.  A number of concerns about the coronial system and the Coroners Act 2006 have been identified such as:

  • the timeliness of coronial decisions and the impact of delay on grieving families
  • a lack of consistency between regions in how coroners and coronial services staff carry out their roles, and uneven workloads between regions and coroners
  • uncertainty about the role of coroners and duplication with other authorities that also investigate certain types of deaths
  • the nature of recommendations that coroners should be able to make to prevent future deaths and whether formal responses to those recommendations should be required, and
  • concerns about the operation of the Act raised in the context of the Law Commission’s review of the Burial and Cremation Act 1964. 

Targeted review

A targeted review is the best way to address the concerns that have been raised without using unnecessary time and resources for areas where no problems have been identified.  The aim is to:

  • better balance the needs of grieving families, including the cultural needs of Māori whānau, with the public interest in understanding the causes and circumstances of deaths
  • improve the quality, consistency and timeliness of coronial investigations and decision making
  • clarify the role of coroners and reduce duplication between coroners and other authorities that investigate deaths and accidents
  • clarify the role coroners have in making recommendations to prevent future deaths and the relationship to agencies that have policy and operational responsibility in those areas, and
  • ensure resources are used effectively.

 

As part of the review, the Ministry of Justice is writing to government agencies and other professional stakeholder groups with an interest in the coronial system (including Māori with a particular interest in the coronial process) to seek comment on how well the current Act and Coronial Services are working and any suggestions for improvement.  If significant new issues are raised during the consultation, the Ministry will discuss with the Minister whether they should be included in the review. 

Consultation

The consultation period for the review finishes in November 2012.  Any comments or submissions should be sent:

by email to Coroners Review

or

by post to:

Coroners Review      

Ministry of Justice

SX10088 (What is this?)

WELLINGTON

 

Link to Minister Borrows Press Release