Coroner charter for Buckinghamshire
Investigations and inquests
If the coroner or a coroner’s officer needs to interview someone about a death, the aim will be to do so no more than once, at a time and place convenient to the person concerned.
If the person wishes, they may be accompanied during the interview by a relative, friend or other person. Every effort will be made to avoid causing any additional distress to close friends or relatives of the deceased.
A copy of any statement to be used at the inquest will be provided to the person who made it, on request, at least 5 working days in advance of the hearing (unless the coroner has good reason not to release it).
The coroner will supply the following information to those asked to attend an inquest:
- the date and time of each hearing (if more than one) at least 10 working days in advance (but note that the opening of the inquest - for taking evidence of identity and the medical cause of death - will generally take place within 3 working days of the report of the death, at which point the body will normally be released);
- details of the telephone number and the name of a contact for
In addition, the coroner will:
- provide immediate relatives with a link to our guide to coroners and inquests
- advise those who express a wish to do so that they may attend an inquest as an observer
- explain to those called as a witness or juror how to claim for travel and subsistence expenses and for financial loss allowances
- ascertain any preference for swearing evidence (for example in accordance with specified religious beliefs, or an affirmation)
The coroner will endeavour to hold any necessary inquest at the earliest date, usually within 4 months of the death. However, there may be factors outside the coroner's control which can cause delay.
Where the inquest is likely to be delayed, the coroner will notify interested persons of the position, including the reason for any continuing delay, on a regular basis, unless the inquest has been formally adjourned to a specific date.
In more complex cases, it may be necessary to hold one or more Pre-Inquest Review Hearings to address any issues and set a timetable for the next activities or final hearing.
Release of the body
The coroner will release the body of the deceased for the funeral at the earliest opportunity, normally within 3 working days of completion of the post mortem examination.
Where there are uncertainties as to the cause of death, or where the death is suspicious, it may be necessary to retain the body longer for further investigation.
The coroner will ensure that relatives are advised of potential delays and the reasons for them.
Disclosure of information
The coroner will, on request, provide to interested persons copies of the post mortem report, for which payment may be required. These will be provided not less than 10 working days in advance of the inquest.
For jurors, the coroner will:
- send a leaflet explaining the duties of a juror at an inquest, and provide other relevant information, 10 days beforehand
- provide an indication in advance of how long the jury service will
After an inquest
At the end of an inquest, the next of kin will be provided with an application form to apply for a death certificate from the Registration Service.
If, in the interests of preventing further fatalities, the coroner decides to report the matter to a relevant person or authority, he will try to do so within 10 working days of the inquest outcome. He will also send copies of his report to all the interested persons and the chief coroner.
A party to whom a report has been sent is usually required to respond within 56 days. A copy of any subsequent response will be sent within 5 days of the receipt wherever possible to interested persons and the chief coroner. The chief coroner may publish reports and responses.
The coroner may supply, on application, a copy of:
- the inquest conclusion (although this is reproduced on any death certificate)
- relevant documentation to someone who the coroner considers to be a proper person to have possession of it (this is a matter of the coroner’s discretion)
They may also supply a copy to an interested person of the documents produced in evidence.
These will be supplied within 25 working days of receipt of the prescribed fee (which will vary according to the number and size of the documents to be copied). The copies will not be issued until the fee has been received.
The coroner through the local authority will pay witness and juror expenses claims promptly. This will be within 10 working days of receipt of properly completed claims in line with the Coroner’s Allowances, Fees and Expenses Regulations 2013.
Applications for permission to remove a body abroad
The coroner will make every effort to complete his enquiries and decide such applications within 5 days of receipt of notice including weekends and bank holidays.
Coroners also have responsibility for enquiries into treasure finds. Find out more about treasure finds.