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Coroner ME Hassell

HM Senior Coroner
Inner North London

Protocol for Prioritisation

Inner North London

1. This is a protocol for the order in which deaths reported to HM Coroner for Inner
North London will be considered.

2. Its intention is to follow in every respect the judgment of the Divisional Court in
R (Adath Yisroel Burial Society) v HM Senior Coroner for Inner North London
[2018] and the Guidance Number 28 of the Chief Coroner of England and
Wales. The protocol should be read in conjunction with the Guidance.

3. Inner North London is a very busy coroner area, encompassing the London
Boroughs of Camden, Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets. There are two
sites served by the coroner: St Pancras and Poplar. Resources are split
between the two sites. It is hoped that there will be co-location at some stage
in the not too distant future.

4. Deaths reported to the office of HMC for Inner North London will be considered
by the sitting coroner (either the Senior Coroner for Inner North London or one
of the Assistant Coroners for Inner North London) for prioritisation of the order
in which they should be prepared by coroner’s officers for substantive
consideration by the coroner.

5. As early as possible in each working day, the sitting coroner will triage reports
of death (these having arrived overnight/that morning or having been left over
from the previous day). The sitting coroner will then instruct the coroner’s
officers about the order in which they should prepare the reports.

6. However, pending coroner triage, coroner’s officers will start preparations, so

as to avoid any delay because the sitting coroner is temporarily engaged on
other tasks.
7. If the number of reports of death is the same as or fewer than the number of
coroner’s officers available and able to prepare the reports for coroner
consideration, then coroner prioritisation will not usually be necessary. Officers
will be able to take one report each and all reports will be progressed as quickly
as practicable. However, if the number of reports of death is greater than the
number of coroner’s officers, then coroner prioritisation will be necessary.

8. The speed with which the coroner’s officers and the sitting coroner will be able
to deal with reports of death will depend upon the operational demands on the
office and the resources available at that particular time.

9. If, during the day, further reports of death are received, these will be brought to
the attention of the sitting coroner as soon as is practicable. The speed with
which the sitting coroner will make further triage decisions during the day will
depend on what other tasks s/he is carrying out.

10. When considering the order of prioritisation, the sitting coroner will take all
known factors into account. Such consideration may include, but will not
necessarily be limited to the following:

 family wishes expressed direct to the coroner’s officer or via any other,
for example the reporting doctor, or faith or community representative;
 particular characteristics known about the deceased, for example if the
deceased is a child, or if they are of a religion or culture where observers
commonly seek early funeral;
 particular characteristics known about the family and friends, for example
if they are resident abroad and with limited time in the UK;
 particular characteristics known about the death, for example having
occurred in state custody;
 other particular characteristics, for example if there are health and safety
 length of time it is likely to take an officer to make the necessary enquiries
and to prepare the report for coroner consideration;
 when death occurred and when it was reported to the coroner’s office.