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Post-mortems

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 11th June 2018.

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Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the Government's policy is on the employment by Her Majesty's coroners of independent forensic pathologists; and what guidelines apply to the timeline for completion of post-mortems when carried out by such pathologists.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

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.

Photo of Phillip Lee Phillip Lee The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

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.

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