There will be a senior coroner for each coroner area (previously known as coroner districts) with the possibility of appointing area coroners and assistant coroners to assist the senior coroner for the area (in place of the existing deputy coroners and assistant deputy coroners).
The 1988 Act was drafted almost exclusively in terms of “inquests” to refer to coroners’ work.
This chapter also provides for the abolition of the office of coroner of the Queen’s household.
Finally it provides for public funding for advocacy at certain inquests. Chapter 1 amends the law in respect of the partial defences to murder and the offence and defence of infanticide, and simplifies and modernises the law on assisting or encouraging suicide.
They do not form part of the Act and have not been endorsed by Parliament.
The notes need to be read in conjunction with the Act.
It also abolishes the common law offences of sedition and seditious libel, defamatory libel and obscene libel.
Part 5 contains some further criminal justice provisions.
In replacing the 1988 Act, this Part introduces a few new concepts.
There will be a Chief Coroner to lead the coroners service, with powers to intervene in cases in specified circumstances, including presiding over an appeals process designed specifically for the coroner system.
Chapter 5 sets out the powers of senior coroners and offences relating to jurors, witnesses and evidence, and makes provision for payments to jurors, witnesses and others.
Chapter 6 provides for the appointment of a Chief Coroner and Deputy Chief Coroners, provides for inspection of the coroners system and establishes a new appeals system in respect of certain decisions made by a senior coroner.
It makes amendments relating to the Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses established under the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004; enables criminal offences created by regulations (under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972) implementing Directive 2006/123/Part 6 contains provisions about civil and criminal legal aid, including provision for pilot schemes in relation to civil legal aid, and provisions about the enforcement of contribution orders made in cases where criminal legal aid is granted.