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Coroners Act 1988

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16 Adjournment of inquest in [F1event of criminal proceedings].E+W

(1)If on an inquest into a death the coroner before the conclusion of the inquest—

(a)is informed by the [F2justices’ chief executive for] a magistrates’ court under section 17(1) below that some person has been charged before a magistrates’ court with—

(i)the murder, manslaughter or infanticide of the deceased;

(ii)an offence under [F3section 1 or 3A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (dangerous driving or careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs)] committed by causing the death of the deceased; or

(iii)an offence under section 2(1) of the M1Suicide Act 1961 consisting of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the suicide of the deceased; or

(b)is informed by the Director of Public Prosecutions that some person has been charged before examining justices with an offence (whether or not involving the death of a person other than the deceased) alleged to have been committed in circumstances connected with the death of the deceased, not being an offence within paragraph (a) above, and is requested by the Director to adjourn the inquest,

then, subject to subsection (2) below, the coroner shall, in the absence of reason to the contrary, adjourn the inquest until after the conclusion of the relevant criminal proceedings and, if a jury has been summoned, may, if he thinks fit, discharge them.

(2)The coroner—

(a)need not adjourn the inquest in a case within subsection (1)(a) above if, before he has done so, the Director of Public Prosecutions notifies him that adjournment is unnecessary; and

(b)may in any case resume the adjourned inquest before the conclusion of the relevant criminal proceedings if notified by the Director that it is open to him to do so.

(3)After the conclusion of the relevant criminal proceedings, or on being notified under paragraph (b) of subsection (2) above before their conclusion, the coroner may, subject to the following provisions of this section, resume the adjourned inquest if in his opinion there is sufficient cause to do so.

(4)Where a coroner adjourns an inquest in compliance with subsection (1) above, he shall send to the registrar of deaths a certificate under his hand stating, so far as they have been ascertained at the date of the certificate, the particulars which under the 1953 Act are required to be registered concerning the death.

(5)Where a coroner does not resume an inquest which he has adjourned in compliance with subsection (1) above, he shall (without prejudice to subsection (4) above) send to the registrar of deaths a certificate under his hand stating the result of the relevant criminal proceedings.

(6)Where a coroner resumes an inquest which has been adjourned in compliance with subsection (1) above and for that purpose summons a jury (but not where he resumes without a jury, or with the same jury as before the adjournment)—

(a)he shall proceed in all respects as if the inquest had not previously been begun; and

(b)subject to subsection (7) below, the provisions of this Act shall apply accordingly as if the resumed inquest were a fresh inquest.

(7)Where a coroner resumes an inquest which has been adjourned in compliance with subsection (1) above—

(a)the finding of the inquest as to the cause of death must not be inconsistent with the outcome of the relevant criminal proceedings;

(b)the coroner shall supply to the registrar of deaths after the termination of the inquest a certificate under his hand stating the result of the relevant criminal proceedings; and

(c)the provisions of section 11(7) above shall not apply in relation to that inquest.

(8)In this section “the relevant criminal proceedings” means the proceedings before examining justices and before any court to which the person charged is committed for trial.

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Amendments (Textual)

F1S. 16: words in side note substituted (1.1.2000) by 1999 c. 22, s. 71(3) (with s. 107, Sch. 14 para. 7(2)); S.I. 1999/3344, art. 2(b)

F2Words in s. 16(1)(a) substituted (1.4.2001) by 1999 c. 22, s. 90, Sch. 13 para. 135 (with s. 107, Sch. 14 para. 2); S.I. 2001/916, art. 2(a)(ii) (with transitional provisions and savings in Sch. 2 para. 2)

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