Coroner's Inquest

An inquest into a potential treasure find

If a museum wishes to acquire a find of potential Treasure, the Coroner must hold an inquest to determine whether the find constitutes Treasure and to determine the facts in the case - who found what, where and when. The exception is where all interested persons have agreed to forego their right to a reward - in such instances an inquest is not necessary.

The Coroner is an independent legal official whose role in the Treasure process dates back centuries. Once the national museum has written to the Coroner to ask to hold an inquest, the case is with the Coroner's Office, so enquiries over timings should be sent to that office. The Coroner's Office should inform the finder and landowner of its intention to hold an inquest. Sometimes the office will issue a summons to the finder and landowner or even the FLO to ask them to attend and give evidence at the inquest in court, but other coroners will hold what is called a 'paper inquest' and the Coroner will make a ruling on the written evidence before them.

If the Coroner finds the items to be 'Treasure', that means that the Crown is formally regarded as the owner of the items.