Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Code of Ethics for Coroners

Office of the Chief Coroner

Code of Ethics for Coroners

  1. Coroners shall exercise their duties and responsibilities without fear, favour, prejudice, bias or partiality towards any person.
  2. Coroners in the exercise of their duties, shall respect the beliefs and/or religious views of the deceased, and where an investigation is for reason only that the deceased person has not had medical attendance prior to the hour of death, shall recognize that the exercise of this free choice is not in itself reason for further investigation or autopsy, unless there is evidence of other conditions stipulated in section 10 of the Coroners Act, 1990.
  3. Coroners shall, in the delegation of their investigative powers to a legally qualified medical practitioner or a police officer, ensure that any individual so authorized is fully aware of and intends to act in accord with the Coroners Act, 1990 and this Code of Ethics for Coroners.
  4. Coroners shall proceed in the public interest to carry out diligently and with all due dispatch, their duties and responsibilities as set out in the Coroners Act, 1990.
  5. Coroners shall have due regard for the fact that they are performing a public duty and that their actions and decisions affect the public interest as well as the interests of private individuals.
  6. Coroners shall accept their share of professional responsibility towards society in relation to matters of public health, health education and legislation affecting the health and well-being of the community.
  7. Coroners shall be guided in the performance of their duties by the Chief Coroner or his/her delegate.
  8. Coroners shall not, in the discharge of their duties, make decisions beyond the scope of their personal expertise and knowledge but shall seek guidance from the appropriate source or sources.
  9. Coroners shall assist law enforcement agencies and officials involved in the administration of justice in the discharge of their duties so far as possible, having regard to the provisions of the Coroners Act, 1990.
  10. A coroner shall not interfere in an investigation or inquest which has been undertaken by another coroner unless directed to do so by the appropriate authority.
  11. Coroners shall disqualify themselves from conducting an investigation or presiding at an inquest where any actual conflict of interest exists or appears to exist.
  12. Coroners presiding at an inquest shall exercise their duties and responsibilities so as to assist the jury to return a fair, impartial, and proper verdict, based on the evidence.
  13. When presiding at an inquest, a coroner shall instruct the jury and receive the jury's verdict with impartiality.
  14. A coroner shall bear in mind that an inquest is designed to determine and make public the facts surrounding a particular death or deaths, and that an inquest shall be open to the public except as provided for in the Coroners Act, 1990, section 32.
  15. Coroners shall avoid making any comments concerning the morality of the conduct of persons within the purview of the investigation or inquest.
  16. A coroner shall not act in a manner designed to, or having the effect of, publicizing his or her personal medical practice or enhancing his or her personal reputation in the community.
  17. A coroner, where an investigation or inquest reveals a need for the amendment of legislation or the enactment of new legislation, shall not be restricted from advocating such change in the law.
  18. A coroner shall not release confidential information to the public during the course of an investigation or prior to, during or subsequent to an inquest, and shall in particular refrain from post-inquest public debate over matters occurring during the course of an inquest. Where the coroner feels that, in the public interest, it is advisable to release certain information, he or she may disclose such information as referred to in section 18(3) of the Coroners Act, 1990 after consultation with the Chief Coroner or his/her delegate.
  19. Coroners shall strive to increase their knowledge concerning matters pertinent to the proper and effective performance of their duties and shall where possible, attend required programs and courses conducted by the Chief Coroner for the instruction of coroners in their duties.
  20. A coroner shall respect the confidentiality of any information received by him or her in the performance of his or her duties except as stipulated in other sections of this code or where otherwise required by law.
  21. Coroners shall not conduct themselves in a manner which might tend to bring their office into disrepute or affect public confidence in that office.

Coroners Motto

"We Speak for the Dead to Protect the Living"

February 2011