HC Deb 24 April 2002 vol 384 c329W
Vera Baird

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average time has been between deaths and inquests in Cleveland in the last 12 months; what assessment he has made of the reasons for unusual delays; and what the average time was in the other coroners' areas in the north-east. [51211]

Beverley Hughes

[holding answer 19 April 2002]: I understand from figures supplied by the Teesside coroner that the average time between a reported death and an inquest in his district in 2001 was about 34 weeks. Calculated on the same basis, the national average is about 18 and a half weeks, with a similar average time interval in the north-east.

Many variable factors affect the timing of an inquest. The Teesside coroner attributes delays in his area to a lack of coroners' officers. Additional officers have recently been supplied by the Cleveland police.

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