HC Deb 11 March 1980 vol 980 c526W
Mr. Meacher

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the procedures for selection of a coroner's jury for an inquiry; whether any jury vetting is ever involved; in particular what arrangements are made to ensure that such jurors are chosen on an entirely random and non-discriminatory basis, and that there is no nomination again of jurors who have previously served; and what rules exist to prevent relatives of the coroner or former policemen from serving on a jury.

Mr. Whitelaw

The coroner issues his warrant for summoning a jury of not less than seven or more than 11 "good and lawful men". There is no mandatory procedure for selection but advice issued by the Home Office in 1974 expressed the hope that coroners would select, so far as practicable, juries drawn from the whole district and balanced in respect of the age and sex of their members.

As proceedings in coroners' courts are not proceedings between parties, there is no analogy with jury vetting in the criminal courts.

Under rule 35 of the Coroners Rules 1953, no person may be summoned as a coroner's juror on more than three occasions in any year.

There is no specific disqualification such as is mentioned in the last part of the question; but there is authority for the view that any person whose prejudices would make him a biased juror may be disqualified at common law.