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To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that when a coroner instructs a pathologist to carry out a post mortem examination to establish the cause of a person's death that examination is concluded within a reasonable time.
Where it is suspected that a death is as a result of homicide the coroner must consult with a chief of police on who should undertake the post-mortem. The Home Office maintains a register of suitably experienced and qualified forensic pathologists to conduct forensic post mortem examinations. The coroner will engage a pathologist from the register.
Coroners have powers under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 to ask a registered medical practitioner to undertake a post-mortem examination. The Coroners (Investigations) Regulations 2013 provide that the report must be made to the coroner as soon as practicable after the examination. I will raise the question of timeliness with the Department of Health and Social Care and will write to my honourable Friend.