The Coroners Court presents unique and complex challenges for coroners, lawyers and others working in the jurisdiction, as well as for bereaved families and friends.
This new manual, written by a leading Australian coroner and an academic lawyer with a special interest in the cultural diversity of death rites and customs, provides practical guidance not available in any other single publication in Australia and New Zealand.
The authors address the problems of:
- Identifying deaths reportable to coroners and the over-reporting of natural deaths
- Deciding the most appropriate, least invasive ways of conducting post mortem medical investigations
- Dealing with objections by next of kin to autopsies
- Responding sensitively and reasonably to the grief and concerns of the bereaved
- Understanding and accommodating the diversity of death customs and funeral rites in a multicultural society
- Selecting cases for inquest
- Managing the coronial investigation and the inquest
- Working with investigators and Counsel Assisting
- Analysing accidents, human error and systems failure
- Developing expertise in a wide range of technical issues
- Focusing the inquest on death prevention and improving public health and safety.
A key feature of the manual is a collection of checklists, models, tools to aid decision-making and other practical resources that all coroners and practitioners in the jurisdiction will find invaluable, including thoughtful exercises for those new to the jurisdiction.
The authors also provide tips for advocates working in the jurisdiction either as Counsel Assisting or representing families or interested parties.
Increasingly, Coroners Courts are becoming a specialist area within the Australian legal system. In Queensland, the Coroners Court is now a stand-alone Court with a State Coroner, Deputy State Coroner, Brisbane, Northern, Central and South-Eastern Coroners appointed. It is timely that this text has been published. It provides valuable insight into and guidance concerning the Coroner’s jurisdiction. It is a compact, yet insightful text. It comprises eight chapters ranging through issues which include jurisdiction and what are reportable deaths, grief and loss and, importantly, cross-cultural issues that arise at these particularly distressing times for the families and loved ones. The text also covers the areas of autopsies and objections to autopsies, inquests, types of findings, common types of coronial cases and what is important for lawyers appearing in that jurisdiction in terms of advocacy. The book also has a series of appendices, which contain sample precedents such as written Findings and letters. The book throughout contains various checklists and tools/precedents which may assist the Coroner in decision-making. The text is an important and valuable tool for anyone who is involved in the coronial jurisdiction. ... it represents excellent value for money. - James McNab, Hearsay, December 2015
Foreword by the Hon Justice Michael WigneyPrefaceAbout the AuthorsTable of CasesTable of Statutes
1. Introduction 2. Basic Issues for Coroners 3. The Bereaved and Their Grief 4. Autopsies and Objections to Autopsy 5. Inquests 6. Mistakes, Accidents, Systems Failures and Countermeasures 7. Notes on Common Types of Coronial Cases 8. Aspects of Advocacy in the Coronial Jurisdiction
Select Guide to Resources Appendix A: A Glossary of Terms Commonly Used in Post Mortem Reports Appendix B: Sample of Coroner’s Introductory Remarks at Inquest Appendix C: Sample of Coroner’s Warning to a ‘Person of Interest’ Concerning Privilege against Self-incrimination Appendix D: Sample Precedent for Written Findings Appendix E: Sample Inquest Findings Appendix F: Sample Letter to Police Commending Investigator Appendix G: Sample Letter to Parents of a Child who has Died of a Drug Overdose Appendix H: Sample Letter of Condolence to Parents of Children who Commit Suicide