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Coroners and Justice Act 2009

Paragraphs 3 and 4: Suspension pending inquiry under Inquiries Act 2005

105.Paragraph 3 of Schedule 1 sets out the circumstances in which a senior coroner’s investigation must be suspended where there is an inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005. It is based on section 17A of the 1988 Act.

106.Paragraph 3(1) requires the senior coroner to suspend an investigation into a death if requested to do so by the Lord Chancellor on the basis that there will be an inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 in which the cause of death is likely to be adequately investigated; that a senior judge has been appointed to chair such an inquiry; and that the Lord Chief Justice has approved (for the purposes of paragraph 3) that appointment. The senior coroner does not have to suspend an investigation if he or she thinks there are exceptional reasons for continuing with it (paragraph 3(2)). Paragraph 3(3) makes provision for investigations which are already suspended under paragraph 1.

107.Paragraph 4 further provides that in situations where an investigation has been suspended on the basis that the cause of death is likely to be adequately investigated by an inquiry set up under the Inquiries Act 2005, the terms of reference of that inquiry must include the purposes set out in section 5(1) of this Act – that is who the deceased was and how, when and where the deceased came by his or her death (read with section 5(2) where necessary to comply with Convention rights). As noted above, all such inquiries will be chaired by a senior member of the judiciary – in this case, a High Court judge, a Court of Appeal judge or a Justice of the Supreme Court.

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