Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
Certificate requiring inquest to be held without a jury: Northern Ireland
‘(1) In section 13(1) of the Coroners Act (Northern Ireland) 1959 (c. 15) (power of coroner to hold inquest) after “sub-section (2)” insert “and section 18A”.
(2) In section 18 of that Act (requirement to summon jury in certain cases) after subsection (4) insert—
“(5) This section is subject to section 18A (certificate requiring inquest to be held without a jury).”.
(3) After that section insert—
“18A Certificate requiring inquest to be held without a jury
(1) The Secretary of State may certify in relation to an inquest that, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, the inquest will involve the consideration of material that should not be made public—
(a) in the interests of national security,
(b) in the interests of the relationship between the United Kingdom and another country, or
(c) otherwise in the public interest.
(2) A certificate may be issued—
(a) in relation to an inquest that has not begun, or
(b) in relation to an inquest that has begun, at any time before its conclusion.
(3) Where a certificate has effect in relation to an inquest, the inquest must be held or (as the case may be) continued without a jury, so that—
(a) if a jury has not been summoned, the coroner must not cause a jury to be summoned, and
(b) if a jury has been summoned, the coroner must discharge the jury.
(4) Accordingly, the following do not apply in relation to the inquest whilst the certificate has effect—
(a) the power under subsection (1) of section 13 or subsection (2) of section 18 to hold the inquest or part of the inquest with a jury, and
(b) the duty under subsection (1) of section 18 to hold the inquest with a jury in the circumstances set out in that subsection.
(5) A certificate has effect in relation to an inquest until it is revoked by the Secretary of State; and the Secretary of State may revoke a certificate in respect of an inquest—
(a) before it has begun, or
(b) after it has begun, at any time before its conclusion.
(6) Where a certificate issued in relation to an inquest is revoked—
(a) if subsection (1) of section 18 applies in relation to the inquest, the coroner must cause a jury to be summoned in accordance with that subsection, and
(b) otherwise, if it appears to the coroner that it is desirable to summon a jury, the coroner may cause a jury to be summoned in accordance with that subsection.
(7) If a jury is summoned—
(a) the coroner must proceed in all respects as if the inquest had not previously begun, and
(b) the provisions of this Act apply accordingly as if that were the case.”.
(4) This section has effect in relation to inquests that have begun, but have not been concluded, before the day on which it comes into force as well as to inquests beginning on or after that day.’.—[Mr. McNulty.]