How To Become A Coroner
A coroner’s role is to receive reports of deaths and then decide what to do about them. Coroners are independent judicial officers and are appointed and paid by a local authority to investigate deaths where the cause is unclear, sudden, of an unknown cause, violent, or 'unnatural'. Coroners must be a trained lawyer or a doctor - and in some cases are both.
The job involves inquiring into reported deaths, ruling on the cause of death, ordering post-mortem examinations where necessary and holding inquests to investigate the identity of a deceased person and how they came by their death. In some cases coroners are asked to produce reports and recommendations to prevent future deaths.
Coroners should have an excellent grasp of the relevant law and be able to take in and analyse complicated details about evidence and events. Coroners often deal with relatives of the deceased and non-professionals and should have good communication skills along with tact and empathy.
To be a coroner you must be a qualified barrister, solicitor or doctor with at least five years experience.
Since April 2013, the training of all types of coroner and coroners’ officers has come under the responsibility of the Judicial College which is introducing a training programme that all coroners will need to attend. To become a coroner you must first qualify as a solicitor, barrister or doctor and work for at least five years in that role. You can then be taken on by a coroner as a deputy or assistant deputy coroner and be trained in court proceedings and relevant administration.
Average Working Hours Per Week = Hours vary (but expect them to be long)
Common Working Pattern
Time Taken To Qualify
What Next/Career Development
As a qualified coroner you could be appointed to one of 110 coroners’ jurisdictions in England and Wales. You should also expect to take additional training to keep up to date with changes in medical procedures, the law and administrative practices. With the right experience and skill set you could apply for the position of senior coroner or even chief coroner.
Facts And Figures
The office of coroner was formally established in 1194.
The role of the coroner was originally to gather tax from the estate of the deceased.
There are 32 full-time (known as ‘whole-time’) coroners who are paid an annual salary regardless of their caseload. The remaining coroners are paid according to the number of cases that are referred to them.