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J Law Med. 2008 Dec;16(3):379-92.

Reforming coronership: international perspectives and contemporary developments.

Abstract

In the 2007-2009 period an important new phase of coronial law reform has commenced. In 2007 New Zealand showed the way with the Coroners Act 2006 (NZ) coming into force with a broad approach to the role of coroners and an emphasis upon the obligations of coroners to be sensitive to familial and cultural needs. 2007 and 2008 also saw Bills for reform of coronial processes before the Irish, United Kingdom and Victorian parliaments. In 2008 the Goudge Inquiry into errors in paediatric pathology made recommendations for systemic reform of the coronial office and its administration and accountability in Ontario, Canada. In 2008 reviews of the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australian coroners legislation also commenced. This editorial identifies the main features of the reforms and proposed reforms starting in 2007, contextualising the initiatives from an international perspective, and isolating the core issues that confront those advancing proposals to modernise the institution of coronership. It calls for an internationally and empirically informed approach to legislative change in order to facilitate the avoidance of avoidable deaths and to enable clarification of the public record in relation to unclear circumstances and causation of death.

PMID:
19205301
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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