§ Mr. Brazier
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the practice when fatalities among military personnel occur during training, with respect to whether a coroner's court conducts the post mortem; and whether the arrangements differ for regular and territorial personnel, and for domestic and overseas exercises.
§ Mr. Archie Hamilton
I assume that the question relates to coroners' inquests. Should a sudden, violent or unnatural death occur in England or Wales, the coroner for the area concerned is obliged to conduct an inquest in accordance with the Coroners Act 1988. This applies to all service personnel whether of the regular or reserve forces. Coroners are also obliged to investigate the sudden or unnatural death of a person abroad if the body is brought back to England or Wales. Deaths in Scotland or bodies returned to Scotland including those of service personnel are dealt with under the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Death Inquiries Act 1976 which allows the relevant procurator fiscal to decide whether a fatal accident inquiry should be held or not.