The coroners service of northern ireland
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The Coroners Service of Northern Ireland. Dr Gillian Clarke Medical Advisor. Presiding Judge 3 Coroners 1 Medical Advisor Solicitor 3 Coroners Liaison Officers Support staff. Each year there are approximately 14,500 deaths in Northern Ireland 26% are referred to the coroner

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The coroners service of northern ireland
The Coroners Service of Northern Ireland

  • Dr Gillian Clarke

    Medical Advisor


  • Presiding Judge

  • 3 Coroners

  • 1 Medical Advisor

  • Solicitor

  • 3 Coroners Liaison Officers

  • Support staff



The medical certificate of cause of death mccd
The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) Ireland

  • Registered medical practitioners have a legal duty to provide without delay a certificate of cause of death if, to the best of their knowledge and belief, that person died of natural causes for which they had treated that person for in the past 28 days



The reporting of deaths to the coroner
The Reporting of Deaths to the Coroner Ireland

  • Coroners Act (Northern Ireland) 1959

  • The duty of medical practitioners and others to report a death - Section 7

  • The duty of the police to report a death- Section 8


Section 7 of the 1959 act provides
Section 7 of the 1959 Act provides;- Ireland

  • “Every medical practitioner , registrar of deaths or funeral director and every occupier of a house or mobile dwelling and every person in charge of any institution or premises in which a deceased person was residing, who has reason to believe that the person died, either directly or indirectly…..


  • ….as a result of violence or misadventure or by unfair means, or as a result of negligence or misconduct or malpractice on the part of others, or from any cause other than natural illness or disease for which he had been seen and treated by a registered medical practitioner within 28 days prior to his death…..



The 5 categories of reportable deaths
The 5 categories of “reportable” deaths (including death as the result of the administration of an anaesthetic), shall immediately notify the coroner….of the facts and circumstances of the death”

  • As a result of violence or misadventure or by unfair means

  • As a result of negligence, misconduct or malpractice on the part of others

  • From any cause other than natural illness or disease



The coroner s decision
The Coroner’s Decision seen and treated by a registered medial practitioner within 28 days prior to his death

  • The coroner must make an assessment each time a death is reported and this calls for complete candour on the part of the clinicians concerned.

  • 1) direct that the doctor should issue a MCCD


  • 2) allow the death to be processed under the “ seen and treated by a registered medial practitioner within 28 days prior to his deathpro-forma” system

    (An extra-statutory scheme developed to facilitate the coroner receiving evidence of the medical practitioners opinion of the cause of death)


  • 3) direct that a seen and treated by a registered medial practitioner within 28 days prior to his deathpost-mortem examination is required


The inquest
The Inquest seen and treated by a registered medial practitioner within 28 days prior to his death

  • In Northern Ireland, unlike England or Wales the holding of an inquest “for inquiring into the death of a person” is discretionary rather than mandatory


Nature and scope of the inquest
Nature and scope of the Inquest seen and treated by a registered medial practitioner within 28 days prior to his death

  • 1) to determine the medical cause of death

  • 2) to allay rumours or suspicion

  • 3) to draw attention to the existence of circumstances which, if unremedied might lead to further deaths


  • 4) to advance medical knowledge seen and treated by a registered medial practitioner within 28 days prior to his death

  • 5) to preserve the legal interests of the deceased persons family, heirs or other interested parties


Inquisitorial investigation
Inquisitorial Investigation seen and treated by a registered medial practitioner within 28 days prior to his death

  • WHO?

  • WHERE?

  • WHEN?

  • WHY?


Rule 16
Rule 16 seen and treated by a registered medial practitioner within 28 days prior to his death

“Neither the coroner nor the jury shall express any opinion on questions of criminal or civil liability or on any matters other than those referred to in the last foregoing rule”


  • CSNI open 364 days per year seen and treated by a registered medial practitioner within 28 days prior to his death

  • A coroner is on call 24/7/365 days per year (and can be contacted OOH by a reporting doctor e.g to discuss organ donation)


www.coronersni.gov.uk seen and treated by a registered medial practitioner within 28 days prior to his death

  • Best Working Practice Guidelines


IN HER MAJESTY seen and treated by a registered medial practitioner within 28 days prior to his death’S COURT OF APPEAL IN NORTHERN IRELAND

________

BETWEEN:

THE ATTORNEY GENEAL FOR NORTHRN IRELAND

and

SIOBHAN DESMOND

Appellants;

-and-

THE SENIOR CORONER FOR NORTHERN IRELAND

Respondent.

________

Before: Morgan LCJ, Girvan LJ and Coghlin LJ

_______


  • Conclusion seen and treated by a registered medial practitioner within 28 days prior to his death

  • [36] For the reasons given the appeal is allowed. It has not been necessary for us to address the Convention points and we decline to do so since consideration of these points may in due course be informed by further decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.

  • [37] We consider that there is great force in the submission by the Royal College of Midwives that the Guidance on Stillbirths issued by the DHSSPS should be reviewed and reformulated as a matter of urgency. If there is likely to be any delay in the final formulation of revised guidance practitioners would doubtless benefit from interim guidance.


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