Section 3: Direction for other coroner to conduct investigation
72.This section gives the Chief Coroner the power to direct a senior coroner who is not the coroner under a duty to investigate a death under section 1 to conduct an investigation. It is developed from section 14(2) of the 1988 Act. The Government intends that this provision will enable the Chief Coroner to respond effectively to an emergency situation, or to reallocate work between coroners in the event of backlogs of work building up in a particular area. Reallocations of this type should take account of the needs of bereaved relatives for both a prompt investigation and one that remains fairly local to them.
73.Under subsection (2), a coroner who is directed by the Chief Coroner to carry out an investigation must do so. No other coroner can conduct the investigation. The coroner directed to deal with the investigation will have powers to move the body, in order to ensure a more efficient inquiry. Again, we anticipate that how costs will be apportioned in transferred cases will be dealt with in regulations under section 43.
74.The Chief Coroner may give more than one direction under section 3. For example, if the coroner who has been directed to conduct an investigation is unable to deal with it, the Chief Coroner may direct another coroner to investigate instead.