Every now and again I will post something of interest to some Lawyers
Tuesday, 5 June 2012
Completely missed this...Chief Coroner has bee appointed
This has completely passed me by...despite me bleating on about the delay whilst we waited for the appointment...note he will not have any legal powers until 2013 and the power to hear appeals will not be brought into force (although looks like the Chief Coroner will hear the equivalent judicial reviews)....still a move in the right direction........
WRITTEN MINISTERIAL STATEMENT
Tuesday 22 May 2012
MINISTRY OF JUSTICE
Appointment of the Chief Coroner
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Jonathan
The Lord Chief Justice, following consultation with the Lord Chancellor, has
announced today that His Honour Judge Peter Thornton QC is to take up post as Chief Coroner in September 2012.
HHJ Thornton, a Senior Circuit Judge at the Central Criminal Court, was originally
appointed to the post in May 2010 but did not formally take up his duties while the
Government was reviewing the position.
As Chief Coroner HHJ Thornton will, for the first time, be responsible for providing
national leadership to coroners in England and Wales. He will also play a key role in
setting new national standards and developing a new statutory framework for coroners including rules and regulations, as well as guidance and practice directions, within which coroners will operate. This will help to bring about much greater consistency of practice between coroner areas and improved services to the bereaved. While HHJ Thornton will not formally commence his duties until September, he will in advance of that familiarise himself with issues facing the coroner system. He will also continue to sit in the Administrative Court to hear Judicial Reviews on coronial matters. Work is ongoing on implementation of the Chief Coroner’s statutory functions and other powers in Part 1 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, with a view to bringing them into force in 2013.
Who is the Chief Coroner?
His Honour Judge Peter Thornton QC has been appointed Chief Coroner and will take up his post in September 2012.
HHJ Peter Thornton QC is a Senior Circuit Judge at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey), having been appointed in 2007. Before then he was a practising Queen's Counsel and part-time judge as a Deputy High Court Judge and Recorder of the Crown Court. He was the coroner at the inquest in 2011 into the death of Ian Tomlinson.
The role of the Chief Coroner
The Chief Coroner has a number of roles but his main responsibilities will be to:
Provide support, leadership and guidance for coroners in England and Wales;
Set national standards for all coroners, including new inquest rules;
Oversee the implementation of the new provisions of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009;
Put in place suitable training arrangements for coroners and their staff;
Approve coroner appointments;
Keep a register of coroner investigations lasting more than 12 months and take steps to reduce unnecessary delays;
Monitor investigations into the deaths of service personnel;
Oversee transfers of cases between coroners and direct coroners to conduct investigations;
Provide an annual report on the coroner system to the Lord Chancellor, to be laid before Parliament;
Monitor the system where recommendations from inquests are reported to the appropriate authorities in order to prevent further deaths.
Appointment of Chief Coroner
Judicial Office news release
The Lord Chief Justice in consultation with the Lord Chancellor has appointed His Honour Judge Peter Thornton QC as the first Chief Coroner of England and Wales.
HHJ Peter Thornton QC will play a key role in setting new national standards in the coroner system. The Chief Coroner will develop a national framework within which coroners will operate, including rules and regulations, guidance and practice directions.
The Government wants to ensure inquests are timely and effective, and bereaved families are provided with the information and support they need throughout this emotionally difficult process.
The Lord Chancellor Kenneth Clarke, said:
“I am delighted that HHJ Peter Thornton QC has accepted the responsibility to become the first Chief Coroner, which is part of our commitment to reforming the coroner system.
“Everyone is agreed that the priority is to ensure coroners provide a high standard of service at what can be a difficult time for bereaved families.
“I am therefore giving the Chief Coroner the full range of powers to drive up standards, including thorough coroner training, and to tackle delays within the system."
HHJ Peter Thornton QC will now start to familiarise himself with the workings of the coroner system and will formally commence his duties in September. He will also continue to sit in the Administrative Court to hear Judicial Reviews on coronial matters.
Responding to his appointment, Judge Peter Thornton QC, said:
“I welcome the challenges of this new post. The coroner system is of vital importance, both in identifying causes of death and in preventing future deaths. But with any ancient and well-respected system there is room for improvement and development.
“I also welcome the opportunity to oversee the many changes made by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 and to lead the coroner system into a positive future.
“I will aim to provide quality and uniformity in the coroner system, with a national consistency of approach and standards between coroner areas. Openness, inclusiveness, thoroughness and fairness must be at the heart of this process if it is to be effective and serve the needs of the public.
“I have huge respect for the work of coroners and their staff. I look forward to engaging with coroners and the Coroners’ Society in all parts of the country and to discussing with interested groups the delivery of an improved service for the bereaved.”
Notes to Editors
1. This appointment has been made under the provisions of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.
2. HHJ Peter Thornton QC is a Senior Circuit Judge at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey). Before then he was a practising Queen’s Counsel and part-time judge as a Deputy High Court Judge and Recorder of the Crown Court. In 2011, as Assistant Deputy Coroner for the City of London, he conducted the inquest into the death of Ian Tomlinson who died at the time of the G20 protests in 2009.
3. HHJ Peter Thornton QC will take up the appointment on 17 September 2012.
4. A judge’s first name is used in his title where, as in this case, there is more than one judge with the same surname.
5. The Chief Coroner will not be available for interviews at this time. Interviews will be considered on a case by case basis in due course.