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What the coroner does

Under the Victorian Coroners Act 2008, when a death is reported, the coroner is required to find out:

  • the identity of the deceased
  • how death occurred (the circumstances)
  • the cause of death
  • the particulars needed to register the death.

In some cases the coroner may comment and make recommendations about public health or safety or the administration of justice. This aims to help prevent similar deaths happening in future. There does not have to be anything suspicious about the death for the coroner to be involved.

The coroner is also able to investigate a fire that happens in Victoria. It can do this whether or not anyone died in the fire.

Who can be a coroner?

The State Coroner must be a judge of the County Court. Other coroners are usually magistrates, or acting magistrates who are jointly appointed by the State Coroner and the Chief Magistrate.

The Act gives the state coroner the responsibility of making sure that coroners have ongoing education and training.

The Coroners Court

The Coroners Court was established on 1 November 2009. It is an inquisitorial court, not adversarial. This means that a coroner can subpoena witnesses to the proceedings and ask questions. Coronial hearings are not bound by the laws of evidence.

More information

Legislation

Coroners Act 2008 (Vic)

  • s. 3—defines a coroner
  • s. 91—office of the state coroner
  • s. 89—establishes the Coroners Court of Victoria
  • s. 93—assignment of magistrates and acting magistrates to coroners court
  • s. Part 4—investigation of deaths and fires

See Coroners Act 2008 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Updated