Last updated 20 January 2022

The coroner is required to make findings about whether or not a death has in fact occurred (s 45(1) Coroners Act 2003 (Qld) (Coroners Act)). When investigating an actual or suspected death, the coroner must report findings on (s 45(2) Coroners Act):

  • the identity of the deceased person
  • how the person died
  • when the person died
  • where the person died (Queensland or interstate)
  • the cause of death.

However, the scope of a coronial inquest is extensive and does not have to be confined solely to these matters (see Doomadgee v Clements [2005] QSC 357, 360; Queensland Fire & Rescue Authority v Hall [1988] 2 Qd R 162, 170). The State Coroner’s Guidelines 2013 provide guidance on how the coroner is likely to approach making these findings in practice.

A written copy of the coroner’s findings must be given to a family member of the deceased who has indicated acceptance on behalf of the entire family (s 45(4)(a) Coroners Act). If a coronial inquest is held, a copy must also be given to any person with a sufficient interest who attended the inquest (s 45(4)(b) Coroners Act).

Where a death has occurred in care, custody or in relation to police operations, the coroner is required to give a copy of the findings to the Attorney-General, the relevant chief executive and minister (s 47 Coroners Act).