Coroners to be able to compel witnesses to attend inquest under new legislation

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New provisions to strengthen the powers of coroners have been announced.

They will change the way post-mortems and inquests can be carried out.

The Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan today announced the commencement of provisions of the Coroners (Amendment) Act 2019

Coroners dealt with 17,528 cases in 2018, which represented 56% of all deaths.

2,092 of these required a post-mortem examination and an inquest.

The new provisions will broaden the scope of the inquest enquiry so that they will no longer be limited to establishing just the medical cause of death, but that they may also seek to establish to the extent the coroner considers necessary, the circumstances in which the death occurred.

Under Section 23 of the Act coroners will have the power to compel a witness to attend an inquests.

They will also have greater powers with regard to the production of documents or other evidence at an inquest.

Minister Flanagan says the changes in regard to post-mortem examinations directed by the coroner represent a significant modernisation and will reassure the next of kin of the deceased.