Inquests and Coroners
The role of Coroner is a responsibility of the Viscount. In most circumstances the Deputy Viscount will conduct an inquest and sometimes a Relief Coroner.
There is a Guide to Sudden Deaths and Inquests on the Viscount’s Department website which contains a lot of information and helpful advice. A brief explanation of what an inquest is and when an inquest happens is provided below but anyone who wants to know more should read the guide.
What is an inquest and when does an inquest happen?
Very briefly, when someone dies suddenly or unexpectedly the death needs to be reported to the police. The police will carry out an investigation and make a Report which is sent to the Coroner.
It is the Coroner who decides if an inquest is necessary and also if a post-mortem is necessary.
An inquest is held to try and answer four questions
- who the deceased was
- where they died
- when they died
- how they died
A post-mortem is an examination of the body which is carried out by a pathologist. It is held to help with the inquest or to help decide if an inquest is necessary. Inquests are usually held in Morier House, Halkett Place, St Helier.
Witnesses can be called by the Coroner. Family members and their lawyers, if they have one, can attend. Members of the public and the news media can also attend.
What happens after an inquest?
Information is provided on
- Organ Donation
- Transportation of Bodies In and Out of Jersey
Death at Sea
The Deputy Viscount will not open the inquest nor can a funeral take place until the body is recovered. The family can arrange a memorial service if the body is not found. There are special rules for a possible inquiry and the registration of death if a merchant seaman dies on a Jersey registered ship, under Article 76 of the Shipping (Jersey) Law 2002.
The Viscount’s Department
Funeral Directors will also be able to assist with queries.