HC Deb 01 June 1981 vol 5 cc246-7W
Mr. Lawrence

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is satisfied with the current coroner's court system; and, if not, what steps he is considering to improve it.

Mr. Raison

The Committee on Death Certification and Coroners—the Brodrick committee—which sat from 1965 to 1971, reviewed the coroners' system in depth and made a number of recommendations for its improvement. Some of these have already been implemented in the Criminal Law Act 1977, the Coroners Act 1980 and the Coroners (Amendment) Rules 1977 and 1980.

Two recommendations of the Brodrick committee—that all deaths in custody should be reported to the coroner and that coroners' juries should be selected by the process used in other courts—have recently been repeated by the Select Committee on Home Affairs which also recommended that a jury should be mandatory for inquests into deaths in custody. My right hon. Friend has stated that he accepts these three recommendations. Legislation will be needed to implement them in due course. We are not satisfied that any changes of a more far-reaching character are called for.