New laws help families re-open Coronial investigations

Thursday 12 July 2018
Isabelle McCombe

A new bill has been introduced into Parliament by the Andrews Labor Government that will help families who seek to have Coronial findings set aside.

The Justice Legislation Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2018, will allow families to apply to the Coroner to set aside Coronial findings and/or re-open cold case investigations.

Under the Coroners Act 1985 and 1958, the authority to set aside Coronial findings and re-open a Coronial investigation fell to the Supreme Court of Victoria.  When the Coroners Act 2008 was enacted, the authority was transferred to the Coroner. 

This created a problem for families seeking to set aside Coronial findings made under the old Acts.  For example, the Supreme Court of Victoria recently held in Mark James v K.G. Mason (in his capacity as Coroner) that it no longer had the authority to do so and the Coroner expressed doubts that she had the authority either. 

The new laws will permit the Coroner to set aside Coronial findings made under an old Act and/or re-open the Coronial investigation if the Coroner is satisfied that there are new facts and circumstances that would make it appropriate to do so. 

If you would like more information about Coronial Inquests and Investigations, you can contact a lawyer directly on (03) 9321 9988.

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