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Coroners and Justice Act 2009

Section 7: Whether jury required

82.This section sets out the circumstances in which a senior coroner is required to hold an inquest into a death with a jury. It also gives the coroner the power to decide to hold an inquest with a jury in any case where he or she thinks there is sufficient reason. It is modelled on section 8(3) of the 1988 Act.

83.The general rule is that an inquest must be held without a jury. Subsections (2) and (3) set out the exceptions to this rule. A jury must be summoned where the deceased died while in custody or otherwise in state detention, and the death was violent or unnatural, or of unknown cause; where the death was as a result of an act or omission of a police officer or member of a service police force (defined in section 48) in the purported execution of their duties; or where the death was caused by an accident, poisoning or disease which must be reported to a government department or inspector. This includes, for example, certain deaths at work. Although a jury is not required in any other case the coroner will be able to summon one in any case where he or she believes there is sufficient reason for doing so.

84.The Government will in secondary legislation make further, more detailed provision about the conduct of inquests (in the Coroners rules to be made under section 45).

85.Under section 40 interested persons, as defined in section 47, will be able to appeal against a coroner’s decision to summon a jury or not to do so in those cases where the senior coroner has discretion.

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