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Coroner's Charter

The Coroner’s Service Charter for Leicester City and South Leicestershire tells you the standards of performance you should expect from the Coroner’s Service, and what to do if something goes wrong. This Charter relates to the Coroners Services in Leicester City and South Leicestershire.

This document describes the standards of the Leicester Coroner’s Service.

It covers procedure before, during and after investigations, post mortems, the role of jurors, treasure and how to give Feedback and Complaints.

  • General
    • Application
    • Legal Position
    • Conduct
    • Correspondence
  • Contact and Enquiry Forms
  • Inquiries Not Requiring an Inquest
  • Before the Inquest
  • After the Inquest
  • Treasure Inquests
  • Feedback and Complaints
  • Performance
  • Further Information

Application

This Charter tells you what standards of performance you should expect from the Coroner Service, and what to do if something goes wrong. This Charter relates to the Coroner Services in Leicester City & South Leicestershire.

Legal Position

The Coroner Services in Leicester City and South Leicestershire operate within a legal framework. It is the Coroner’s duty to investigate deaths which are reported to her and which appear to be due to violence, are unnatural, unknown or where the death occurs in state detention.

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Conduct

The Senior Coroner, Catherine Mason, her Assistant Coroners - Mrs Lydia Brown and Dr C Swann, Mrs Dianne Hocking and her Coroner's Officers will treat the bereaved and other members of the public courteously and sympathetically at all times; having regard, within the constraints of their legal duties, to the deceased’s religious faith and cultural traditions.

Duties will be discharged impartially, with a view to ascertaining the facts surrounding a death for the purposes of the Coroner’s statutory responsibilities.

The Coroner carries out a thorough but limited investigation into deaths where the cause is unnatural, unknown, violent or occurred whilst the deceased was in state detention. The enquiry is limited to determining who has died, how that person came by the medical cause of death and when and where that person died.  The Coroner does not determine an issue of civil liability or criminal liability by a named person.  There are two stages to the Inquest process.  The first stage is the investigative stage and the second is the hearing stage.  All persons working for the Coroner or assisting in the unnatural and unexpected death and death in state detention, are prohibited from disclosing any information to the media or non-interested persons (within the meaning of the Coroner’s Act 2009) without the express permission of the Coroner.

It is a criminal offence at common law to obstruct the Coroner.  Unauthorised disclosure of information may be considered to be an offence.  The correct time for the public disclosure of details surrounding deaths is at the opening and conclusion of inquests.  There will be a hearing of all the relevant evidence.  The Coroner or the jury will give a conclusion proceeded by findings and determinations of fact.  Disclosure of circumstances surrounding a death can cause unnecessary upset and concern for family and loved ones.  It is the Coroner’s inquiry and only the Coroner will determine whether information can be released before the opening of an inquest.

Once an inquest has been opened, confidentiality will be maintained, as far as possible, within a system based on public court hearings. An explanation for the procedures adopted in a particular case will be given, if requested by an interested person.

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Correspondence

Written enquiries to the Coroner will normally receive a reply within 10 working days of receipt. If the matter cannot be resolved within that time, an acknowledgement will be given within 5 working days with an estimate of when a substantive reply will be sent.

Contact and enquiry forms

The Leicester City and South Leicestershire Coroner’s Court and Offices are at The Town Hall, Town Hall Square, Leicester LE1 9BG.

The offices are open from Monday to Friday each week except for Bank Holidays.  The offices are open from 8.00 am to 4.00 pm Monday to Thursday and 8.00 am to 3.30 pm on Friday.

 

During office hours a Coroner’s Officer can be contacted on:

(0116) 454 1031

The fax number of the office is 0116 225 2537

The Coroner can be contacted by e-mail at leicester.coroner@leicester.gov.uk

Court hearings are held at the Coroner’s Court.  The Court has separate waiting areas. Those having to attend the courts that have special requirements (including, for example, hearing or other translating or interpreting services) are requested to make contact with the office in advance.

The Coroner and her staff will identify themselves by name in their dealings with members of the public.  Assistant Coroners act when the Senior Coroner is not available.  In doing so, they will exercise the full powers of the Senior Coroner.

Contact Telephone

Coroner’s Officer:    

(0116) 454 1031

Coroner’s Administrator:  (0116) 454 1031

Inquiries not requiring an Inquest

If a death is reported which does not need to be the subject of an inquest, a certificate giving the cause of death will be issued and sent to the Registrar of Deaths within 5 working days of the completion of the Coroner’s enquiries.

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Treasure Inquests

Coroners have responsibility for enquiries into treasure finds. Information leaflets about treasure are available from the Coroner’s Office.


Feedback and Complaints

All of Her Majesty’s Coroners are judicial officers independent of any political control. The Ministry of Justice co-ordinate Coroners’ training, continuing education and gives Coroners support. Though the Ministry of Justice regulates the size and number of Coroners’ Jurisdictions, Coroners are not answerable to or under the control of the Ministry of Justice. The Coroner’s Court is an inferior court of record and is under the supervision of the Administrative Court of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice.

The Coroner will not enter into correspondence about the cases she has completed, but comments and suggestions on improving the Coroner Services are always welcome.

The aim of the Coroner Service is to provide a service of excellence so that you should have no cause for complaint, but if you do, the complaint will be dealt with speedily and courteously.

The Coroner would be grateful to have written feedback as to the performance of her service be it good or bad.  This information is essential to be able to review and improve systems and enhance performance for the public good.

All complaints about the administration of the Leicester City and South Leicestershire Coroner Service, or the conduct of an individual Coroner or Officer should be raised in the first instance with the Coroner by writing to:

H.M. Senior Coroner,
The Town Hall,
Town Hall Square,
Leicester,
LE1 9BG

Comments and feedback can be provided using our online eForm

Should the concern/complaint be about a procedural or administrative matter she will investigate the matter and advise as to what course of action has been taken.

All concerns/complaints will be acknowledged within 7 working days and should the matter require a detailed investigation the person making the complaint will be kept informed as to the progress.

Complaints about a Coroner’s decision or the outcome of an inquest can only be dealt with through the High Court. The Coroner’s Office will be able to explain the procedure on request, but cannot give legal advice.

If the Coroner fails to deal with the complaint satisfactorily, the complainant may refer it to the Ministry of Justice:

Coroners Division,
Ministry of Justice,
102 Petty France,
London,
SW1H 9AJ

Phone:    020 7210 0049 / 0066
Fax:        0870 739 5849

The Ministry of Justice has no disciplinary powers or powers to award compensation but may, in appropriate cases, refer the complaint to the Lord Chancellor who is responsible for the discipline of Coroners.

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Performance

The performance of this service will be continually monitored against the standards detailed in this document. The service is demand lead. The service relies on a partnership of several public authorities that have responsibility for public life in this City. The Coroner herself has no contractual relationship with these authorities. The Coroner’s Officers are employed by Leicester City Council. The Coroner’s Service relies on other statutory authorities including the Police Force, the Fire Service, the Health and Safety Executive, the British Transport Police various Hospital Trusts and others.

The Coroner has no direct control over the independent public authorities and is aware that many have to prioritize their services as a result of budgetary considerations. The Coroner will use all her powers to take every care that the public of and visitors to Leicester City and South Leicestershire do not suffer and that the best service possible is delivered.

The effects of bereavement and loss on a community cannot be underestimated and there is one chance in every case to get things right.

Further Information

Further copies of this charter may be obtained from the Coroner’s Offices

General information is contained in the Ministry of Justice leaflet “The Work of the Coroner”, also available from the Coroner’s Office, or from police stations/ hospitals/libraries/County Hall.

This charter was first issued in December 2001.
Last updated August 2016 

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