Opening a New Page

Law Institute Journal, Vol. 83, No. 6, pp. 29-33

Monash University Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010/6

7 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2010

Date Written: June 2009


Under new legislation Victorian Coroners are to have a significantly changed role in investigation of deaths and fires, with a stronger focus on recommendations for preventative action and transperancy of Coroners’ decision-making.

The Coroners Act 2008 (Vic) (the new Act), which comes into force on 1 November 2009, and which partially implements the 2006 recommendations of the Law Reform Committee of the Parliament of Victoria, returns Victoria to the forefront of Australian coronial reform for the first time since the introduction of its predecessor, the Coroners Act 1985 (Vic) (the old Act).

The new Act makes important and far-reaching changes to the jurisdiction of death and fire investigation by Victorian coroners. It creates a Coroners Court, nominated to be an “inquisitorial court” headed by a County Court judge; it gives a new and public status to coroners’ comments and recommendations; it mandates publication of coroners’ decisions; and it institutes coroners in a meaningful sense as public health officials with an explicit focus on death and fire prevention. This article reviews the important innovations of the new Act and what they will mean for legal practitioners representing the interests of those involved or potentially involved in inquests.

Keywords: law, Coroners Act 2008 (Vic), Coroners Act, Coroners Act 2008, coroners, coroner, Law Reform Committee, Parliament of Victoria, investigation of deaths, fires, transparency

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K14, K40, K41, K42, K49

Suggested Citation

Freckelton, Ian Richard, Opening a New Page (June 2009). Law Institute Journal, Vol. 83, No. 6, pp. 29-33, Monash University Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010/6, Available at SSRN:

Ian Richard Freckelton (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne ( email )

Parkville, Victoria 3010
61 3 92257666 (Phone)
61 3 99142790 (Fax)

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