Under the new rules the inquest must be completed within six months from “the date on which the coroner is made aware of the death, or as soon as is reasonably practicable after that date”.
Pre-Inquest Review Hearings
The Coroner may hold one or more hearings before the inquest itself. These are known as pre-inquest review hearings, where the scope of the inquest and any matters of concern can be considered. Where possible coroners should set out an agenda in writing in advance of the hearing and, where appropriate, invite written submissions to be considered at the hearing.
Providing Information and Documents
Under the rules a coroner must normally disclose copies of relevant documents to an interested person (eg the next of kin), on request, at any stage of the investigation process.
The rules list the documents that should be provided:
- Any post-mortem examination report.
- Any other report that has been provided to the coroner during the course of the
- Any other document which the coroner considers relevant to the inquest.
There are restrictions on providing documents and a coroner may refuse to provide a document or a copy of that document in certain circumstances.