Last updated 20 January 2022click to download a pdf of this chapter

Role of Human Rights
Coroners and Registrars
When a Death is Reportable to the Coroner
Reporting a Reportable Death
After a Death is Reported to the Coroner
Ordering a Coronial Autopsy
Releasing the Body for Burial or Cremation
When to Investigate a Death
Investigating Deaths in Custody
Investigating Health-care-related Deaths
Investigating Domestic and Family-violence-related Deaths
Investigating Child Protection Deaths
Investigating Suspected Deaths (Missing Persons)
The Decision to Hold an Inquest
Applying for an Inquest to be Held
What Happens at an Inquest
Statutory Requirements of Coronial Findings
Coronial Recommendations
Publication of Findings
Decisions Made by a Coroner
Review of Decisions Made by a Coroner
Setting Aside Coroner’s Finding
Review of District Court Decisions
Judicial Review
Administrative Decisions and Human Rights
Support Services

Losing a loved can be an extremely difficult experience, particularly if you are concerned that their death was preventable, or if it is difficult to understand the circumstances surrounding their death. In Queensland, we are fortunate to have a coronial system that has a focus on preventing deaths, and that involves the family of the deceased in a sensitive and compassionate manner (for more information see Queensland, Parliamentary Debates, Legislative Assembly, 3 December 2002, 5220 (Rodney Welford, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice)).

The framework for our coronial system is outlined in the Coroners Act 2003 (Qld) (Coroners Act). This Act sets requirements for when a death must be reported, how the death should be investigated, when a coronial inquest must be held and how an inquest should be conducted. The legislation emphasises the rights of the families of the deceased to be involved in key decisions during coronial investigations, and outlines how you can access information relating to the investigation and obtain a review of the coroner’s decision.

To ensure best practice, coroners are bound by the Coroners Act to adhere to the State Coroner’s Guidelines 2013 (version 4, 2019) to the greatest extent possible when investigating a death.

A comprehensive list of legal and social work support services that are available to you during the coronial process are listed under Support Services at the end of this chapter. A full list of community legal centres in Queensland who may also be able to provide support are listed on the Community Legal Centres Queensland website. Caxton Legal Centre and Townsville Community Law have a specialist coronial program for families.