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Coroners and Justice Act 2009

Section 24: Provision of staff and accommodation

221.This section requires the relevant authority for a coroner area to provide sufficient administrative staff and coroners’ officers. When, locally, the police authority is responsible for providing coroners’ officers, then they will be expected to continue to do so. The local authority and local police authority will be expected to work together, with the senior coroner, to secure appropriate staffing levels. (Police authorities currently provide 90% of coroner’s officers to support the work of coroners.)

222.The relevant authority is also obliged to provide, or secure the provision of, accommodation to enable senior coroners to carry out their functions. This accommodation must either be maintained by the relevant authority or they must secure that it is maintained. This does not apply if another person has responsibility for maintaining the accommodation. This recognises that not all coroners have a dedicated court to hold inquests and that there will continue to be a need to hire such facilities in the future, including court accommodation where the existing court room is insufficient for the purposes of a particular inquest. Under section 31 of the 1988 Act, the relevant council had power to provide accommodation for inquests.

223.The relevant authority is required to take into account the views of the senior coroner when providing and, where relevant, maintaining accommodation. The Act allows inquests to be held anywhere in England and Wales so that there is new flexibility if particular inquests have requirements for the sort of accommodation which is not available within the coroner’s own area. The expectation will be, however, that an inquest is normally held within the area of the coroner who is conducting the investigation.

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