Perinatal Mortality: Coroners

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 11th June 2015.

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Photo of David Mowat David Mowat Conservative, Warrington South

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the inquest into the death of Clara Tully, if he will bring forward proposals to allow inquests on infants who die during labour.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister for Equalities (Department for Education), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Coroners must investigate all deaths which are sudden, unnatural, violent, or of unknown cause. This can include deaths of newborn babies such as in the tragic case of Clara Tully. Coroners cannot by law investigate cases in which a child has not lived independently of its mother, such as stillbirths. They can, however, open an investigation if there is any doubt over whether there was independent life, once they have received a report of the case. There are also hospital and medical investigations into stillbirths.

The Chief Coroner, HHJ Peter Thornton QC, is considering actions to improve consistency and good practice.

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