The purpose of a hearing, commonly referred to as an inquest, is to enable interested parties to be heard and make submissions and to enable findings to be made as to;
It is not unusual for a coroner to make observations relevant to community standards and expectations particularly in relation to health and safety issues. Also, if the skill, competence or conduct of a person having a trade or professional qualification is a factor in the investigation, the coroner may refer the issue to the relevant body or statutory authority having jurisdiction to take the appropriate action against that person.
The coroner does not always hold a hearing to determine the circumstances and cause of death but a hearing must take place if the death;
Involved someone who was in care. The coroner is required by law to comment on the quality of the supervision, treatment and care of the deceased while in that care;
Was caused by a member of the police force;
or when directed by the Attorney General or the State Coroner.
In many instances, the relevant findings will emerge from the investigation.
On occasions, a person goes missing presumed dead. If there are grounds to believe that the presumed death was or would have been a reportable death, the Coroner will hold an inquest and make findings as to how the death occurred and the cause.
A person can apply for a hearing if the death is likely to be within the jurisdiction of the coroner’s office.
If you have sufficient interest in the hearing you can be represented at the hearing by a lawyer. Apart from the deceased’s next of kin, this rule applies to other persons such as;
A beneficiary under a policy of life insurance applying to the deceased and the insurer;
Any persons whose act or omission may have caused or contributed to the death;
A Union if the deceased was injured whilst at work
No inquest is held until after all criminal proceedings have been determined by an appropriate court.