§ 1. Sir. G. de Freitas
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will introduce legislation to give him power to prevent coroners delaying the holding of inquests and thereby causing distress to relatives of the deceased.
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Miss Alice Bacon)
Any legislation on this subject must await the report of the Committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Norman Broderick, Q.C., which is reviewing the whole of the law relating to coroners and coroners' courts.
§ Sir. G. de Freitas
Will my right hon. Friend bring to the attention of the Committee the circumstances known to the Home Office, in which great distress was caused to one of my constituents because of the coroner's very long delay in holding an inquest?
§ Miss Bacon
Yes, we will certainly do that, but I remind my hon. Friend that, although we undertook to look into the matter which he has mentioned, my right hon. Friend has no responsibilities whatever in respect of coroners or coroners' courts, because the coroner is an independent 656 judicial officer. But we will certainly bring anything to the attention of the Committee.
§ Dr. Winstanley
Is the right hon. Lady aware that there is a growing body of informed opinion which believes that the whole office and machinery of coroners' inquests require overhaul and that many believe that we should be wise to follow the excellent example of the Scottish procedure?