The correct title of HM Coroner is – ‘Her Majesty’s Coroner and they each cover the whole or part of a Local Authority area, for example in our locality it is ‘Her Majesty’s Coroner for Sussex East’.
The main duties of the Coroner today are:
- To investigate all unexpected or sudden deaths,
- To investigate all deaths that happen abroad and the body is repatriated to the United Kingdom;
- To give permission to remove bodies out of England and Wales;
- To act for the Crown in respect of treasure trove.
The holder of the post of HM Coroner usually has a legal background and/or a medical background. The Coroner is not employed by the Local Authority, being only answerable to the Crown in the person of the Home Secretary.
The Coroner Service is administered by HM Coroner who is assisted by a Deputy, as the service must be available at all times. In the major jurisdictions HM Coroner may have their own premises for the Court, offices and a public mortuary all in one facility. However, HM Coroners usually are solicitors based at their own offices, making use of the Local Authority or hospital facilities. HM Coroners, are assisted by Coroner’s Officers and normally they are Police Officers seconded to the Coroner Service working on a full-time basis. In practice the office is often held by a retired Police Officer or other civilians with some legal background.
The Coroner’s Officer assists by taking statements from witnesses, carrying out investigations required by HM Coroner, arranging for the removal of the deceased to the appropriate mortuary and generally liaising between the family, pathologist, funeral firm and HM Coroner.
We have a good relationship with the Coroners Officers locally and are familiar with HM Coroner’s procedures and will support you through the process each step of the way.