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Coroners' reforms delayed until 2012

12 March 2010

Radical reforms to the ancient system of coroners will not be fully implemented until April 2012, the MoJ has warned.

The government has had the powers it needs to make sweeping changes to the system since the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 received Royal Assent in November.

Justice minister Bridget Prentice said: “While some families have had a straightforward experience during what is always an unhappy time, others have found their contact with the system confusing or alienating, and have often not been aware of their rights.

“These reforms will remove inconsistencies, placing the needs of the bereaved at the centre of the process and ensuring that everyone involved in the investigation is clear about their rights and responsibilities.”

The reforms are designed to make it easier to transfer inquests between different areas, introduce a national appeals system and ensure that bereaved families have the right to request the information used by the coroner.

A spokesman for the MoJ said that, before drawing up secondary legislation, the government would seek views from coroners, bereaved families, local government and lawyers. This initial consultation will end in July 2010.

There will also be a final consultation on the secondary legislation, allowing the new system to be ready by April 2012, he said.

In a separate development, justice secretary Jack Straw has announced that legal aid will be granted so that survivors of the July 2005 bombings can be legally represented at the inquests.

Categorised in:

Legal Aid Procedures Discrimination