Thursday, 1 November 2012

Hull gets medical Coroner before the ban takes effect....

As the Chief Coroner, in yet another excellent speech to the Howard League, points out:

Under our present law coroners are lawyers or doctors or both, although, as I said, there are not many doctor-only coroners left. The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 will require that all new coroners are lawyers and have the same legal judicial qualifications as all judges. I see that as a good thing. There is a good case for coroners being more judges than guardians of public health.  

Just before that reform is due to take effect Hull City Council has appointed Professor Paul Marks BA, LLM, MD, FRCS, MFFLM, ACI Arb, Consultant Neurosurgeon, to be HM Coroner for Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire.  He may also be dual qualified as a legal practitioner, although I have found no evidence for that.  He is a serving Deputy Coroner for the Western District of West Yorkshire (effectively Bradford) and I don't doubt his eligibility for the role. I also note that he has an LLM, is an Arbitrator and is a Visiting Professor of Medical Law. It is curious however, to appoint such a Coroner at a time when the law is about to prohibit the appoint of medical Coroners.  And for good reason - legal practitioners make good judges and coroners.  The simple reason is that they can deal with evidence, witnesses, legal submissions and advocates, because that was their bread and butter.  The worst judges are those who have forgotten what is was like to be a practitioner.  Even worse, those who were never practitioners.  I wish Professor Marks well but, I, like the CC, welcome the no more new medical coroners reform.

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