2.8 Coroners Court

A coroner holds an inquiry to find out more about who the person was, and where, when and how they died.

Sometimes a coroner will ask for another investigation to help them decide if they should hold an inquiry. This can include medical investigations (such as a post mortem or doctor’s report) or occupational safety and health investigations.

Sometimes – like when it’s a natural death – they may make a finding without having to open an inquiry.

Coroners hold hearings to:

  • identify who has died and cause of death
  • establish when and where the person died
  • understand the causes and circumstances of the death.

If the coroner needs to hear from witnesses in person, they will hold a hearing in court. This is called an inquest.

At the end of the inquiry, the coroner may make recommendations or comments on measures that may reduce the possibility of death in similar circumstances.

A coroner is a judicial officer appointed by the Governor-General with the special role of inquiring into the deaths of people in particular circumstances. They have the powers of a District Court judge, exercising jurisdiction under the Criminal Procedure Act 2011, including the power to summon witnesses.

The Coroners Court is governed by the Coroners Act 2006.

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