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    INQUESTS: FIRST CHIEF CORONER APPOINTED

    Government resists calls for new inquest decision appeal rights

    It has been reported by the BBC that Judge Peter Thornton QC will become the first chief coroner of England and Wales who aims to “provide quality and uniformity in the coroner system“.

    The government decided to scrap the role (created in 2009) but reinstated it in November 2011 following opposition from the Royal British Legion which said the post was needed to improve the handling of inquiries into military deaths. Peter Thornton said: 

    “with any ancient and well-respected system there is room for improvement and development. Openness, inclusiveness, thoroughness and fairness must be at the heart of this process if it is to be effective and serve the needs of the public.

    Existing procedures for challenging an inquest decision will continue and there will be no new appeal rights. Prime Minister David Cameron said he did not want a system which would extend the appeal process and could lead to large numbers of cases being referred to the chief coroner for a second verdict.

    In addition to introducing new national standards the chief coroner will be tasked to try improve the way bereaved families are dealt with.

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