Reprint
as at 27 August 2013

Coat of Arms of New Zealand

Coroners Act 2006

Public Act2006 No 38
Date of assent29 August 2006
Commencementsee section 2

Note

Changes authorised by subpart 2 of Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2012 have been made in this reprint.

Note 4 at the end of this reprint provides a list of the amendments incorporated.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Justice.


Contents

1 Title

2 Commencement

Part 1
General provisions

3 Purpose of this Act

4 Coroner's role

5 Coroners must perform their duties without delay

6 Coroners must have regard to relevant practice notes

7 Chief coroner's functions

8 Overview of this Act

9 Interpretation

10 Coroner defined

11 Application of Act to deaths of members of visiting forces

12 Act binds the Crown

Part 2
Deaths to be reported and post-mortems

Reporting of deaths

13 Deaths that must be reported under section 14(2)

14 Reporting of deaths to police

15 Reporting of deaths to coroner by police

16 Chief coroner to designate replacement designated coroner or report death to original designated coroner

17 Investigations by police

Custody and removal of bodies

18 When police have exclusive right to custody of body

19 When designated coroner has exclusive right to custody of body

20 Directions about removal of body

21 Coroner not required to view body

Interests of families and other relevant people or organisations

22 Representative for liaison with immediate family

23 Coroner must give family representative, immediate family, and certain others notice of significant matters

24 Significant matters referred to in section 23(1)

25 Viewing, touching, or remaining with or near body in coroner's custody

26 Matters to be taken into account under section 25(3)

27 Family may request pathologist's report on post-mortem

28 Any person may access specified certificates and notices

29 Access to other documents given to Secretary

30 Charges for copies under section 28 or 29

Post-mortems

31 Coroner may direct post-mortem

32 Criteria for decision whether to direct post-mortem

33 Right in some cases to object to post-mortem

34 Procedure for objections under section 33

35 Procedure for objection in High Court

36 Nature of post-mortem

37 Post-mortem may be performed early in some cases

38 Who may attend post-mortem

39 Definitions for section 38

40 Coroner may require person's doctor to report

41 High Court may order post-mortem in certain circumstances

Release of bodies, and retention and return of body parts and bodily samples

42 Release of bodies

43 Restriction on release if no post-mortem directed

44 Restriction on release if parts or samples to be retained

45 Release of still-born children

46 Costs of transporting body moved for post-mortem, etc

47 Receipt, removal, and taking of parts and samples

48 Retention of parts and samples on release of body

49 Coroner's authorisation under section 48(2)(b)

50 Coroner must notify family, etc, of retention, and of right to request return, of retained parts and samples

51 Pathologists proposing to retain parts or samples under section 48(2)(c) must advise of right to request return

52 Requests for return of retained parts and samples

53 Parts and samples whose retention is not permitted must generally be returned when body released

54 Restrictions on return and disposal

55 Return on request of retained parts and samples

56 Use and disposal of retained parts or samples whose return is not requested

Part 3
Inquiries into causes and circumstances of deaths

Inquiries

57 Purposes of inquiries

58 Adverse comments by coroners

59 Jurisdiction of coroners to open inquiries

60 Deaths into which inquiries must be opened

61 Deaths where coroner may decide not to open inquiries

62 Other deaths

63 Decision whether to open and conduct inquiry

64 Duties of coroner who decides not to open inquiry

65 Coroner may decide to open inquiry despite initial decision

66 Which coroner conducts inquiry

67 Chief coroner and Secretary to be notified of inquiry

68 Procedure if person charged with offence

69 Procedure if some other investigation to be conducted

70 Coroner may decide not to open or resume postponed or adjourned inquiry

71 Restrictions on making public of details of self-inflicted deaths

72 Permission referred to in section 71(2)

73 Definitions for sections 71 and 74

74 Coroner may prohibit making public of evidence given at any part of inquiry proceedings

75 Review of coroner's decision as to making public of details, evidence, etc

76 People from whom evidence generally to be heard

77 Hearings on papers and chambers findings

78 Protection for witnesses and counsel

79 Admission and verification of evidence

Inquests

80 Decision to hold inquest

81 Date, etc, and notice of inquest

82 Inquests usually to be before coroner alone

83 Specialist advisers to sit with and help coroners

84 Joint inquests

85 Inquests usually to be public

86 Coroner may exclude people from inquest

87 Coroner may exclude witness until he or she gives evidence

88 Evidence at inquest

89 Others who may cross-examine at inquest

90 Evidence by written statement confirmed by witness

91 Evidence at distance for purposes of inquest

Completion of inquiries

92 Body must be viewed before certain inquiries concluded

93 Certificate of and written reasons for interim findings

94 Certificate of and written reasons for findings

Inquiries or further inquiries ordered by Solicitor-General or High Court

95 Inquiry if coroner has failed or refused to open one

96 Inquiry if new facts discovered

97 Further inquiry if sufficient reason

98 Sections 95 to 97 subject to general jurisdiction

99 Exercise of powers under sections 95 to 97

100 Form and service of orders under sections 95 to 97

101 Coroner must open and conduct inquiry accordingly

102 Procedure at inquiries ordered under sections 95 to 97

Part 4
Appointments, administration, powers, offences and penalties, and technical provisions

Appointments

103 Coroners

104 Relief coroners

105 Chief coroner

106 Acting chief coroner

107 Concurrent office or employment

108 Coroners act full-time unless authorised to act part-time

109 Maximum number of coroners

110 Salaries and allowances

111 When determination under section 110(1) comes into force

112 Resignation

113 Complaints about coroners

114 Removal

Administration

115 Police to help coroners' investigations

116 Responsible department to provide administrative support

Powers

117 Coroners' powers and immunities generally

118 Coroner may call for investigations or examinations or commission reports

119 Coroner may refer death to other investigating authorities

120 Coroner may by written notice require person to supply information or documents or other things

121 Grounds for refusing to comply with written notice

122 Warrant for information, document, or other thing

123 Entry and search under warrant under section 122

124 Duties when executing warrant under section 122

125 Grounds for withholding thing sought by warrant

126 Review of dismissal of claim that section 121(2) applies

127 Limits on use of information, etc, given or produced in response to notice under section 120 or obtained through execution of warrant under section 122

128 Warrant for removal of body

129 Entry and search under warrant under section 128

130 Warrant under section 128 to be produced

131 Power to seize evidence relevant to post-mortem

132 Chief coroner may issue practice notes

133 Chief coroner must designate coroners for specified deaths

Offences and penalties

134 Failure to supply information or documents or other things as required by coroner's notice under section 120

135 False or misleading statements and omissions in certain documents

136 Non-compliance with direction about removal of body

137 Failure or refusal to give report required

138 False or misleading statement for purposes of section 64(3)

139 Publication of information in contravention of section 71 or prohibition under section 74

Technical provisions

140 Regulations

141 Transitional provisions: amendments to Coroners Act 1988 effective day after assent are in Schedule 1

142 Transitional provisions: functions or powers available day after assent are in Schedule 2

143 Coroners Act 1988 repealed

144 Transitional provisions: arrangements effective on and after 1 July 2007 are in Schedule 3

145 Amendments relating to complaints against coroners are in Schedule 4

146 Consequential amendments are in Schedule 5

Schedule 1
Amendments to Coroners Act 1988 effective day after assent

Schedule 2
Functions or powers available day after assent

Schedule 3
Arrangements effective on and after 1 July 2007

Schedule 4
Amendments to Judicial Conduct Commissioner and Judicial Conduct Panel Act 2004

Schedule 5
Consequential amendments


1 Title
  • This Act is the Coroners Act 2006.

2 Commencement
  • (1) Sections 1 to 3, 141, and 142, and Schedules 1 and 2 come into force on the day after the date on which this Act receives the Royal assent.

    (2) The rest of this Act comes into force on 1 July 2007.

Part 1
General provisions

3 Purpose of this Act
  • (1) The purpose of this Act is to help to prevent deaths and to promote justice through—

    • (a) investigations, and the identification of the causes and circumstances, of sudden or unexplained deaths, or deaths in special circumstances; and

    • (b) the making of specified recommendations or comments (as defined in section 9) that, if drawn to public attention, may reduce the chances of the occurrence of other deaths in circumstances similar to those in which those deaths occurred.

    (2) To help to achieve its purpose, this Act—

    • (a) identifies deaths that must be reported to a coroner and the process for reporting and investigating those deaths:

    • (b) recognises both—

      • (i) the cultural and spiritual needs of family of, and of others who were in a close relationship to, a person who has died; and

      • (ii) the public good associated with a proper and timely understanding of the causes and circumstances of deaths:

    • (c) provides for an independent coronial system for investigations of deaths by coroners liaising with other authorities permitted or required by law to investigate those deaths:

4 Coroner's role
  • (1) A coroner's role in relation to a death is—

    • (a) to receive a report of the death from the New Zealand Police; and

    • (b) to decide whether to direct a post-mortem and, if one is directed, to determine whether to authorise certain people (other than the pathologist) to attend; and

    • (c) to authorise the release of the body (including determining, if a post-mortem has been directed, whether the pathologist wishes and is permitted, on the release of the body, to retain body parts or bodily samples); and

    • (d) to decide whether to open an inquiry (and, if one is to be conducted, whether an inquest should be held); and

    • (e) if an inquiry is to be opened and conducted,—

      • (i) to open and conduct it for the 3 purposes stated in subsection (2) (and in section 57), and not to determine civil, criminal, or disciplinary liability; and

      • (ii) to determine related matters such as whether to prohibit the making public of evidence and whether to authorise the making public of certain particulars of deaths suspected or found to be self-inflicted deaths; and

      • (iii) on completing it, to complete and sign a certificate of findings in relation to the death; and

    • (f) to give members and representatives of the immediate family of the person who is, or of a person who is suspected to be, the dead person concerned, and certain others, notice of significant matters in the carrying out of the duties and processes required by law to be performed or followed in relation to the death.

    (2) The 3 purposes referred to in subsection (1)(e)(i) are—

    • (a) to establish, so far as possible,—

      • (i) that a person has died; and

      • (ii) the person's identity; and

      • (iii) when and where the person died; and

      • (iv) the causes of the death; and

      • (v) the circumstances of the death; and

    • (b) to make specified recommendations or comments (as defined in section 9) that, in the coroner's opinion, may, if drawn to public attention, reduce the chances of the occurrence of other deaths in circumstances similar to those in which the death occurred; and

    • (c) to determine whether the public interest would be served by the death being investigated by other investigating authorities in the performance or exercise of their functions, powers, or duties, and to refer the death to them if satisfied that the public interest would be served by their investigating it in the performance or exercise of their functions, powers, or duties.

    (3) This section is only a general guide to a coroner's role.

5 Coroners must perform their duties without delay
  • Every coroner must, so far as it is consistent with justice and practicable to do so, perform or exercise his or her functions, powers, and duties without delay.

6 Coroners must have regard to relevant practice notes
  • In performing or exercising a function, power, or duty, a coroner must have regard to any practice note issued by the chief coroner under section 132 that is relevant to the performance or exercise of the function, power, or duty.

7 Chief coroner's functions
  • The chief coroner's main function is to help to ensure the integrity and effectiveness of the coronial system provided for by this Act, and, in order to carry out his or her main function, the chief coroner has the following additional functions:

    • (a) to help to ensure coroners' investigations are conducted in an orderly and expeditious way by overseeing them, and by facilitating the provision and co-ordination of support services and of necessary or desirable cultural, legal, medical, or other specialist advice:

    • (b) to advise the responsible department on, and help it to make arrangements to meet, coroners' needs for information and for initial and continuing professional education and training:

    • (c) to designate coroners (and replacement designated coroners) to receive reports of, and perform every other part of the coroner's role in relation to, deaths in a particular area or that fall into another specified class:

    • (d) to maintain a list of names of pathologists who are willing to perform post-mortems:

    • (e) to designate other coroners to conduct inquiries where there is some good reason why the coroners to whom the deaths have been reported should not conduct them:

    • (f) to authorise coroners to open and conduct inquiries or further inquiries required by orders under sections 95 to 97, and to serve those orders on those coroners:

    • (g) to advise the Minister on the numbers and locations of relief coroners, and to authorise them to act in the place of, or help, coroners:

    • (h) to help to inform and achieve consistency in coronial decision-making and other coronial conduct by issuing practice notes:

    • (i) to set up and maintain a register, open for public inspection at all reasonable times, of summaries of coroners' specified recommendations or comments (as defined in section 9):

    • (k) to provide coroners and others with general information and advice to help planning and preparation for—

      • (ii) response and recovery in the event of an emergency (as so defined):

    • (l) to help to avoid unnecessary duplication and expedite investigation of deaths by liaison, and encouragement of co-ordination (for example, through development of protocols), with other investigating authorities and other official bodies or statutory officers:

    • (m) to help, by education, publicity, and liaison with the public, to promote understanding of, and co-operation with, the coronial system provided for by this Act:

    • (n) any other additional function conferred or imposed by any other enactment.

8 Overview of this Act
  • (1) Part 1 deals with general matters including the purpose and structure of the Act, a coroner's role, the chief coroner's functions, definitions, and the application of the Act.

    (2) Part 2 deals with deaths that must be reported and post-mortems and, in particular,—

    • (a) custody and removal of bodies:

    • (b) interests of families and other relevant people or organisations:

    • (c) release of bodies, and retention and return of body parts and bodily samples.

    (3) Part 3 deals with the opening and conduct of inquiries into the causes and circumstances of deaths and, in particular,—

    • (a) holding of inquests, and completion of inquiries:

    • (b) inquiries or further inquiries ordered by the Solicitor-General or the High Court.

    (4) Part 4 relates to appointments (including removal of, and complaints about, the chief coroner and other coroners), administration, powers, offences and penalties, and technical matters (including regulations and repeals).

    (5) This section is only a guide to the general scheme and effect of this Act.

9 Interpretation
  • In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,—

    bodily sample, in relation to a body,—

    • (a) means a sample or specimen (whether of a body part, or of any other thing that is in or on the body, or of both) taken from the body by a pathologist after the death of the person concerned; and so

    • (b) includes a sample or specimen so taken of blood or tissue, urine or other bodily fluids, or contents of the stomach or bowel, and a sample or specimen so taken that is, or is part of, the following:

      • (i) any thing that is, or is in or on, an item of clothing on the body:

      • (ii) a weapon, or other foreign item or substance (for example, a surgical implant, including a cardiac pacemaker or other biomechanical aid), that is in or on the body

    body means a dead person, but—

    • (a) includes a part of a person (whether or not the person's identity is known when the part is discovered or is later determined)—

      • (i) without which no person can live; or

      • (ii) discovered in such circumstances or such a state that it is probable that the person is dead; and

    • (b) does not include a dead foetus or a still-born child (as those terms are defined in section 2 of the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995); and

    • (c) for the purposes of an authorisation for release under section 42, does not include any body part or bodily sample retained in accordance with section 48(2)

    body part, in relation to a body,—

    • (a) means any part of the body (whether separated from the body before, on, or after the death concerned); and so

    • (b) includes a part so received or removed that is an organ, limb, hand, foot, or digit

    chief coroner means the person appointed under section 105; and includes a person appointed as the acting chief coroner under section 106

    coroner has the meaning given to it by section 10

    craft includes any aircraft, ship, boat, or other machine or vessel, used or capable of being used for the carriage or transportation of persons or goods, or both, by air or water or over or under water

    death, in relation to reporting to a member of the police or a coroner, includes the finding of a body

    death in official custody or care means a death described in any of paragraphs (e) to (l) of section 13(1) (deaths that must be reported under section 14(2))

    designated coroner, in relation to a death,—

    • (a) means the coroner designated by the chief coroner under section 133 to receive reports of, and perform every other part of the coroner's role in relation to, all deaths in the area in which the death occurred or that fall into another specified class into which the death falls; and

    • (b) includes a replacement designated coroner designated by the chief coroner under sections 16(2)(a) and 133

    doctor means a health practitioner who is, or is deemed to be, registered with the Medical Council of New Zealand continued by section 114(1)(a) of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 as a practitioner of the profession of medicine

    immediate family, in relation to a dead person,—

    • (a) means members of the dead person's family, whānau, or other culturally recognised family group, who—

      • (i) were in a close relationship with the person; or

      • (ii) had, in accordance with customs or traditions of the community of which the person was part, responsibility for, or an interest in, the person's welfare and best interests; and

    • (b) to avoid doubt, includes persons whose relationship to the dead person is, or is through 1 or more relationships that are, that or those of—

      • (i) spouse, civil union partner, or de facto partner of the dead person:

      • (ii) child, parent, guardian, grandparent, brother, or sister of the dead person:

      • (iii) stepchild, stepparent, stepbrother, or stepsister of the dead person

    inquest means a hearing held by a coroner in connection with an inquiry opened and conducted by a coroner under Part 3

    inquiry means an inquiry into a death opened and conducted by a coroner under Part 3; and includes any related inquest held by the coroner

    investigation, in relation to a death and a coroner, means every function, power, or duty the coroner may or must perform or exercise in relation to the death, including, without limitation, the coroner's functions, powers, or duties relating to—

    • (a) a post-mortem of the body concerned; and

    • (b) an inquiry into the death; and

    • (c) an inquest related to an inquiry into the death

    irrecoverable means impossible or impracticable to recover

    listed pathologist means a pathologist whose name appears on the list maintained by the chief coroner under section 7(d)

    marae includes the area of land on which all buildings such as the wharenui (meeting house), the wharekai (dining room), ablution blocks, and any other associated buildings are situated

    Minister means the Minister of the Crown who, under the authority of a warrant or with the authority of the Prime Minister, is for the time being responsible for the administration of this Act

    New Zealand

    • (a) means the land and the waters enclosed by the outer limits of the territorial sea of New Zealand (as described in section 3 of the Territorial Sea, Contiguous Zone, and Exclusive Economic Zone Act 1977); and

    • (b) includes the Ross Dependency

    other investigating authority, in relation to a death, means an authority (other than a coroner) permitted or required by law to investigate the death; and includes, without limitation, any of the following authorities:

    • (a) the Commissioner as defined in section 4(1) of the Children's Commissioner Act 2003:

    • (b) the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand established by section 72A of the Civil Aviation Act 1990:

    • (c) the Corporation as defined in section 39 of the Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Compensation Act 2001:

    • (d) the Director or a Deputy Director or a district inspector as defined in section 2(1) of the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992:

    • (e) a district inspector as defined in section 5(1) of the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act 2003:

    • (f) the Health and Disability Commissioner appointed under section 8 of the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994:

    • (g) the Director or an officer as defined in section 2 of the Food Act 1981:

    • (h) an inspector appointed under section 29(1) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992:

    • (i) the New Zealand Transport Agency established by section 93 of the Land Transport Management Act 2003:

    • (k) the authority known as Maritime New Zealand continued by section 429 of the Maritime Transport Act 1994:

    • (l) the Independent Police Conduct Authority established under section 4 of the Independent Police Conduct Authority Act 1988:

    • (m) the Transport Accident Investigation Commission established by section 3 of the Transport Accident Investigation Commission Act 1990:

    • (n) a Royal Commission, or a commission of inquiry appointed by an Order in Council made under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908, or a commission of inquiry or board of inquiry or court of inquiry or committee of inquiry appointed, pursuant to, or by, any provision of an Act:

    • (o) an inquiry to which section 6 of the Inquiries Act 2013 applies

    pathologist

    • (a) means a doctor who is competent to perform post-mortems because his or her scope of practice (as defined in section 5(1) of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003) includes the branch of medicine of pathology; and

    • (b) in relation to a post-mortem directed under section 31, means the pathologist directed to perform the post-mortem; and includes another pathologist who, with a coroner's authorisation under section 38(1)(b), is attending, participating in, and helping with, the post-mortem

    post-mortem means a post-mortem examination

    relief coroner means a person appointed under section 104

    Remuneration Authority means the Authority established by section 4(1) of the Remuneration Authority Act 1977

    responsible department means the department of State that, with the authority of the Prime Minister, is for the time being responsible for the administration of this Act

    Secretary means the chief executive of the responsible department

    specified recommendations or comments means, in relation to a death, recommendations or comments by the designated coroner on either or both of the following:

    • (a) the avoidance of circumstances similar to those in which the death occurred:

    • (b) the way in which any people should act in circumstances of that kind

    vehicle means a conveyance for use on land, whether or not it is also capable of being used on or over water.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 2

    Section 9 body paragraph (b): amended, on 24 January 2009, by section 47 of the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Amendment Act 2008 (2008 No 48).

    Section 9 other investigating authority paragraph (i): amended, on 1 August 2008, by section 50(1) of the Land Transport Management Amendment Act 2008 (2008 No 47).

    Section 9 other investigating authority paragraph (l): amended, on 29 November 2007, by section 26 of the Independent Police Conduct Authority Amendment Act 2007 (2007 No 38).

    Section 9 other investigating authority paragraph (o): inserted, on 27 August 2013, by section 39 of the Inquiries Act 2013 (2013 No 60).

10 Coroner defined
  • (1) In this Act, coroner means a person appointed under section 103 and, except as provided in this section, includes—

    • (a) the chief coroner; and

    • (b) a person who (under section 8(d) of the District Courts Act 1947) is a coroner by virtue of holding office as a District Court Judge; and

    • (c) a relief coroner.

    (2) In the following sections, coroner does not include the chief coroner:

    (3) In the following sections, coroner does not, except as provided in section 109(2)(a), include a person who (under section 8(d) of the District Courts Act 1947) is a coroner by virtue of holding office as a District Court Judge:

    • (a) section 108 (coroners act full-time unless authorised to act part-time):

    (4) In the following sections, coroner does not include a relief coroner:

11 Application of Act to deaths of members of visiting forces
  • This Act is subject to section 19 of the Visiting Forces Act 2004, which applies to inquiries relating to members of visiting forces.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 3A

12 Act binds the Crown
  • This Act binds the Crown.

Part 2
Deaths to be reported and post-mortems

Reporting of deaths

13 Deaths that must be reported under section 14(2)
  • (1) This section applies to the following deaths if, and only if, they are deaths to which subsection (2) applies:

    • Without known cause, suicide, or unnatural or violent
    • (a) every death that appears to have been without known cause, or suicide, or unnatural or violent:

    • For which no doctor's certificate given
    • (b) every death in respect of which no doctor has given a doctor's certificate (as defined in section 2(1) of the Burial and Cremation Act 1964):

    • During medical, surgical, or dental operation, treatment, etc
    • (c) every death—

      • (i) that occurred while the person concerned was undergoing a medical, surgical, dental, or similar operation or procedure; or

      • (ii) that appears to have been the result of an operation or procedure of that kind; or

      • (iii) that appears to have been the result of medical, surgical, dental, or similar treatment received by that person; or

      • (iv) that occurred while that person was affected by an anaesthetic; or

      • (v) that appears to have been the result of the administration to that person of an anaesthetic or a medicine (as defined in section 3 of the Medicines Act 1981):

    • (d) any death that occurred while the woman concerned was giving birth, or that appears to have been a result of that woman being pregnant or giving birth:

    • In official custody or care
    • (e) the death of a patient required to be detained in an institution pursuant to an order under section 9 of the Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Act 1966:

    • (f) the death of a child or young person the chief executive has, under section 365 of the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989, placed in a residence established under section 364 of that Act:

    • (g) the death of a child or young person while that child or young person—

      • (i) is in the custody or care of an Iwi Social Service or a Cultural Social Service, or the Director of a Child and Family Support Service, pursuant to section 43 or 78 or 110 or 139 or 140 or 141 or 234 or 238 or 345 of the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989; or

      • (ii) is in the charge of any person or organisation pursuant to section 362 of that Act:

    • (h) the death of any patient as defined in section 2(1) of the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992:

    • (i) the death of any proposed care recipient or care recipient as defined in section 5(1) of the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act 2003:

    • (j) the death of a prisoner as defined in section 3(1) of the Corrections Act 2004:

    • (k) the death of a person in the custody of the New Zealand Police:

    • (l) the death of a person under the control of a security officer as defined in section 3(1) of the Corrections Act 2004.

    (2) This subsection applies only to deaths that occurred in New Zealand or that are deaths on or from—

    • (b) a New Zealand ship (as defined in section 2(1) of the Maritime Transport Act 1994); or

    • (c) an aircraft or ship of the Armed Forces (as defined in section 2(1) of the Armed Forces Discipline Act 1971).

    (3) Subsection (1)(e) and (f) and (h) to (j) apply to a death whether or not it occurred in the institution, residence, hospital, facility, or prison concerned.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 ss 4, 5(2)

    Section 13(1)(b): amended, on 24 January 2009, by section 47 of the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Amendment Act 2008 (2008 No 48).

14 Reporting of deaths to police
  • (1) A person who finds a body in New Zealand must report that finding to a member of the police as soon as practicable unless excused from doing so by subsection (3).

    (2) A person who learns of a death to which section 13 applies must report that death to a member of the police as soon as practicable unless excused from doing so by subsection (3).

    (3) A person is not required by subsection (1) or (2) to report a death if he or she believes that the death—

    • (a) is already known to the New Zealand Police; or

    • (b) will be reported to a member of the police.

    (4) Any person may report to a member of the police the death outside New Zealand of a person whose body is in New Zealand.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 5(1)–(3), (5)

15 Reporting of deaths to coroner by police
  • (1) This subsection applies to a member of the police—

    • (a) who finds a body in New Zealand; or

    • (b) to whom a report of a death is made under section 14.

    (2) A member of the police to whom subsection (1) applies must, unless excused from doing so by subsection (3), cause the death concerned to be reported immediately—

    • (a) to the coroner designated under section 133 by the chief coroner to receive reports of, and perform every other part of the coroner's role in relation to, all deaths in the area in which the death occurred or that fall into another specified class into which the death falls; or

    • (b) if that coroner is unavailable, to another coroner.

    (3) A member of the police is not required by subsection (2) to report a death if he or she believes that the death is already known to, or will be reported by another member of the police to, the coroner, or a coroner, to whom the death is required by that subsection to be reported.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 5(4)

16 Chief coroner to designate replacement designated coroner or report death to original designated coroner
  • (1) A coroner who is not the chief coroner but to whom a finding or death is reported under section 15(2)(b) must report it to the chief coroner as soon as practicable.

    (2) As soon as practicable after a finding or death is reported to him or her under section 15(2)(b) or subsection (1) of this section, the chief coroner must—

    • (a) designate another coroner under section 133 as the designated coroner for the death concerned; and

    • (b) report that death to that coroner.

    (3) However, if the designated coroner referred to in section 15(2)(a) has, since the report under section 15(2)(b), become available, then instead of acting under subsection (2) of this section the chief coroner may cause the death concerned to be reported under section 15(2)(a) to that designated coroner.

17 Investigations by police
  • (1) If a death has been reported to a coroner under section 15, the Commissioner of Police must cause to be made all investigations—

    • (a) necessary to help to achieve the purpose of this Act in relation to the death; or

    • (b) directed by the designated coroner.

    (2) This section does not limit section 115.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 5(6)

Custody and removal of bodies

18 When police have exclusive right to custody of body
  • (1) The New Zealand Police has an exclusive right to custody of the body concerned—

    • (a) from the time when a member of the police first suspects on reasonable grounds that a death to which section 13 applies may have occurred; and

    (2) Despite subsection (1)(b), the New Zealand Police must ensure the death is reported to the designated coroner under section 15(2)(a) or section 16(2)(b) as soon as practicable.

    (3) Nothing in this section affects when that exclusive right can be and is exercised by or on behalf of the New Zealand Police, or prevents the New Zealand Police from exercising on behalf of the designated coroner his or her right under section 19.

19 When designated coroner has exclusive right to custody of body
  • (1) The designated coroner has an exclusive right to custody of the body concerned—

    • (b) until he or she authorises the release of the body under section 42.

    (2) Nothing in this section affects when that exclusive right can be and is exercised by or on behalf of the designated coroner.

20 Directions about removal of body
  • For the purposes of a post-mortem of a body directed under section 31, a coroner may give any directions the coroner thinks fit about removal of the body (for example, directions about the removal of the body to a mortuary or morgue).

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 13(1)

21 Coroner not required to view body
  • A coroner is not required to view any body.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 24(2)

Interests of families and other relevant people or organisations

22 Representative for liaison with immediate family
  • (1) This section applies to—

    • (b) the immediate family of the person who is, or of a person who is suspected to be, the dead person concerned (the immediate family).

    (2) To facilitate effective liaison with the immediate family on the duties and processes required by law to be performed or followed in relation to the death, the coroner may, on a request by, or on behalf of, the immediate family, recognise and, after recognition, liaise mainly with, 1 or more representatives of the immediate family.

    (3) The coroner may recognise under this section only the smallest number of representatives necessary to represent fairly the interests of all the different members of the immediate family.

    (4) No recognition under this section is effective until the coroner is given a proposed representative's name and contact details.

    (5) Nothing in this section requires the performance or exercise of functions, powers, or duties in relation to the death to be delayed until a representative is recognised, or until his or her details are given to the coroner.

23 Coroner must give family representative, immediate family, and certain others notice of significant matters
  • (1) A coroner to whom a death has been reported under section 15(2)(a) or section 16(2)(b) must take all reasonable steps to give the following notice, as soon as practicable, of significant matters in the carrying out of the duties and processes required by law to be performed or followed in relation to the death:

    • (a) any representatives recognised under section 22 of the immediate family of the person who is, or of a person who is suspected to be, the dead person concerned:

    • (b) every member of the immediate family of that person (being a member of that immediate family who has asked to be notified of matters under this section, and has given the coroner contact details for that purpose, because his or her interests are not represented by a representative recognised under section 22):

    • (c) any other people or organisations the coroner considers have an interest in the death apart from any interest in common with the public, and whose contact details are available to the coroner.

    (2) A failure to comply with this section or section 50(1)(b) (which relates to family, etc, being notified of the retention, and of the right to request the return, of retained body parts or bodily samples) does not affect the validity of any action taken by or on behalf of the coroner.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 11(1)

24 Significant matters referred to in section 23(1)
  • The significant matters referred to in section 23(1) include, without limitation:

    • (b) a direction by the coroner that a post-mortem of the body concerned be performed:

    • (c) the coroner's reasons for directing that a post-mortem be performed:

    • (e) that a copy of the pathologist's report on a post-mortem can be obtained under section 27:

    • (f) the opening of an inquiry:

    • (g) the date, time, and place fixed for an inquest:

    • (h) the completion of an inquiry.

25 Viewing, touching, or remaining with or near body in coroner's custody
  • (1) This section applies to a body if—

    • (b) the coroner's exclusive right to custody of the body, under section 19, is being exercised by him or her or on his or her behalf; and

    • (c) 1 or more people to whom subsection (2) applies wish to view, touch, or remain with or near the body.

    (2) This subsection applies to the following people:

    • (a) members of the immediate family of the person who is, or of a person who is suspected to be, the dead person concerned:

    • (b) representatives (whether recognised under section 22 or not) of that immediate family:

    • (c) people chosen by that immediate family and who are, or are performing functions analogous to, ministers of religion or other people providing religious or spiritual advice, benefit, or comfort.

    (3) One or more people to whom subsection (2) applies may view, touch, or remain with or near the body, but only—

    • (a) if authorised to do so by the coroner; and

    • (b) in accordance with any conditions the coroner imposes.

26 Matters to be taken into account under section 25(3)
  • (1) The coroner must take into account the matters specified in subsection (2) in determining—

    • (a) whether to authorise a person under section 25(3) to view, touch, or remain with or near the body; and

    • (b) any conditions imposed under section 25(3)(b) on the person's viewing, touching, or remaining with or near the body.

    (2) The matters referred to in subsection (1) are—

    • (a) any concerns the New Zealand Police or, if a post-mortem of the body has been directed under section 31, the pathologist may have about a pathologist's ability to determine the cause of death being limited by people viewing, touching, or remaining with or near the body:

    • (b) all risks of contamination of evidence if the death appears to have been, or may appear later to have been, a result of conduct that constitutes a criminal offence:

    • (c) all risks to the security of the body:

    • (d) whether suitable staff are available to supervise visitors to the mortuary or morgue where the body is kept:

    • (e) all risks of visitors to that mortuary or morgue being contaminated, infected, or otherwise harmed by exposure to or contact with the body:

    • (f) whether suitable rooms and facilities for family or whānau are available at that mortuary or morgue:

    • (g) the need to ensure compliance with all applicable legal requirements relating to health and safety:

    • (h) any other matters the coroner considers relevant.

27 Family may request pathologist's report on post-mortem
  • (1) The coroner must (without charge) give the member of the person's family a copy of the report if—

    • (a) a coroner has, under section 31, directed a pathologist to perform a post-mortem of a person's body; and

    • (b) the coroner has possession of the pathologist's report on the post-mortem; and

    • (c) a member of the person's family asks the coroner, after the completion of the post-mortem, for a copy of the report; and

    • (d) the copy of the report is not, and does not (because of alterations or deletions) contain in legible form, information that the coroner has been asked by the New Zealand Police to withhold in order to avoid prejudicing the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution, and punishment of criminal offences relating to the death concerned or its circumstances.

    (2) A copy of the report (whether it is, or contains, information withheld under subsection (1)(d), or not) may be requested, and made available, in accordance with section 29.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 11(2)

28 Any person may access specified certificates and notices
  • (1) On a written request for the purpose made to the responsible department, any person may, without charge, during ordinary office hours inspect and, on payment of the charge (if any) fixed by an officer or employee of the responsible department under section 30, obtain a copy of a certificate or notice given to the Secretary under this Act and that is—

    • (a) a notice under section 64 of a coroner's decision not to open an inquiry; or

    • (b) a notice under section 70(4) of a coroner's decision not to open or resume a postponed or adjourned inquiry; or

    • (c) a certificate under section 93 of a coroner's interim findings in relation to a death (which includes a written statement of the reasons for those findings); or

    • (d) a certificate under section 94 of a coroner's findings in relation to a death (which includes a written statement of the reasons for those findings).

    (2) A copy may be obtained under subsection (1) despite a prohibition under section 74 (which empowers the coroner to prohibit the making public of evidence given at any part of inquiry proceedings), but nothing in this section permits a person to make public any information in contravention of section 71 (which relates to restrictions on the making public of details of self-inflicted deaths).

    (3) Subsections (1) and (2) apply to the following certificates and notices given to the Secretary under the Coroners Act 1988 (but, for the purposes of this subsection, the references in subsection (2) to sections 74 and 71 must be read as references to sections 25(2)(b) and 29 of that Act respectively):

    • (a) a notice under section 20(2) of that Act of a coroner's decision not to hold an inquest under that Act:

    • (b) a notice under section 28(7) of that Act of a coroner's decision not to open or resume an inquest under that Act:

    • (c) a certificate under section 31 of that Act of a coroner's findings in relation to a death.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 44(1), (5)

29 Access to other documents given to Secretary
  • (1) On a written request for the purpose made to the responsible department, any person may, without charge, during ordinary office hours inspect and, on payment of the charge (if any) fixed by an officer or employee of the responsible department under section 30, obtain a copy of any document (for example, a pathologist's report on a post-mortem) that—

    • (a) is not a certificate or notice specified in section 28(1); and

    • (b) was given by a coroner to the Secretary under this Act.

    (2) The availability of documents requested under subsection (1) must be determined,—

    • (a) in the case of a request made by the individual to whom the information concerned relates, in accordance with the Privacy Act 1993; or

    (3) Nothing in this section authorises—

    • (a) the publication of a document contrary to a prohibition under section 74 (which empowers the coroner to prohibit the making public of evidence given at any part of inquiry proceedings); or

    • (b) the publication of any information in contravention of section 71 (which relates to restrictions on the making public of details of self-inflicted deaths).

    (4) Subsections (1) to (3) apply to the following (but, for the purposes of this subsection, the references in subsection (3) to sections 74 and 71 must be read as references to sections 25(2)(b) and 29 of the Coroners Act 1988 respectively):

    • (a) depositions transmitted to the Secretary under section 24(2) of the Coroners Act 1951; and

    • (b) any document that is not a certificate or notice specified in section 28(3) but was given by a coroner to the Secretary under the Coroners Act 1988.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 44(2)–(5)

30 Charges for copies under section 28 or 29
  • (1) No charge may be fixed under this section for a request under section 28(1) or 29(1) made by the individual to whom the information concerned relates.

    (2) This subsection applies to a request under section 28(1) or 29(1) that is not made by the individual to whom the information concerned relates.

    (3) An officer or employee of the responsible department must determine under this section what (if any) charge to fix for a request to which subsection (2) applies.

    (4) Any charge fixed must be reasonable and regard may be had—

    • (a) to the cost of the labour and materials involved in making the information available; and

    • (b) to any costs incurred pursuant to a request that the information be made available urgently.

    (5) The responsible department may require that the whole or part of any charge fixed be paid in advance.

    Compare: 1982 No 156 s 15(1A)–(3); 1993 No 28 s 35(1)

Post-mortems

31 Coroner may direct post-mortem
  • (1) A coroner may direct a pathologist to perform a post-mortem of a body—

    • (a) for the purpose of enabling the coroner to decide whether to open an inquiry into the death concerned; or

    • (b) if the coroner is to open, or has opened and not completed, an inquiry into the death concerned.

    (2) If a coroner proposes to direct a post-mortem under this section, section 33 (right in some cases to object to post-mortem) may apply to that post-mortem and section 34(1)(d) (procedure for objections under section 33) may prohibit the coroner from directing that the post-mortem be performed.

    (3) The pathologist must be a listed pathologist.

    (4) The pathologist must not be a doctor who, to the coroner's knowledge, was a doctor who attended the person concerned immediately before death.

    (5) If, in accordance with section 37, the coroner so directs, the pathologist must perform the post-mortem immediately.

    (6) As soon as practicable after completing the post-mortem, the pathologist must give the coroner a written report on the results of the post-mortem.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 7

32 Criteria for decision whether to direct post-mortem
  • In deciding whether to direct a post-mortem under section 31, a coroner must have regard to the following matters:

    • (a) the extent to which the matters required by this Act to be established by an inquiry—

      • (i) are not already disclosed in respect of the death concerned by information available directly to the coroner or from information arising from investigations or examinations the coroner has made or caused to be made; but

      • (ii) are likely to be disclosed by a post-mortem; and

    • (b) whether the Director-General of Health has ordered or is likely to order a post-mortem of the body concerned under section 78 of the Health Act 1956; and

    • (c) whether the death appears to have been unnatural or violent; and

    • (d) if the death appears to have been unnatural or violent, whether it appears to have been due to the actions or inaction of other people; and

    • (e) the existence and extent of any allegations, rumours, suspicions, or public concern about the cause of the death; and

    • (f) the desirability of minimising the causing of distress to people who, by reason of their ethnic origins, social attitudes or customs, or spiritual beliefs, customarily require bodies to be available to family members as soon as possible after death; and

    • (g) the desirability of minimising the causing of offence to people who, by reason of their ethnic origins, social attitudes or customs, or spiritual beliefs, find post-mortems of bodies offensive; and

    • (h) the desire of any member of the immediate family of the person concerned that a post-mortem should be performed; and

    • (i) any other matters the coroner thinks relevant.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 8

33 Right in some cases to object to post-mortem
  • (1) This section applies to a post-mortem of a body that a coroner proposes to direct under section 31 be performed unless the coroner proposes to direct that the post-mortem be performed immediately (in accordance with section 37) because (together with any other good reason) any delay would or may limit the pathologist's ability to determine the cause of death.

    (2) Every member of the immediate family of the person who is, or of a person who is suspected to be, the dead person concerned has, in the situation specified in subsection (3), a right to object to the post-mortem.

    (3) The situation referred to in subsection (2) is that the coroner is, after having made all reasonable investigations, satisfied that, in the particular circumstances,—

    • (a) the death concerned does not appear to have been, and is unlikely to appear later to have been, a result of conduct that constitutes a criminal offence; and

    • (b) New Zealand's international legal obligations, and the laws of New Zealand, do not appear to require the post-mortem to be performed.

34 Procedure for objections under section 33
  • (1) If a coroner determines that members of the immediate family have, under section 33, a right to object to the post-mortem,—

    • (a) notice of that right must be given in accordance with section 23; and

    • (b) any exercise of that right must be as soon as practicable and within 24 hours of the coroner's determination; and

    • (c) that right is exercised by advising the coroner of the fact of and reasons for the objection to the post-mortem; and

    • (d) the coroner cannot, if that right is exercised within that 24-hour period, direct under section 31 that the post-mortem be performed unless permitted to do so by subsection (3) of this section or by order of the High Court under section 35(6).

    (2) If, 24 hours after the coroner determines that members of the immediate family have, under section 33, a right to object to the post-mortem, the coroner has received objections under section 33, he or she must as soon as practicable—

    • (a) decide whether he or she still wishes to direct under section 31 that the post-mortem be performed; and

    • (b) advise the objectors accordingly.

    (3) The coroner may direct under section 31 that the post-mortem be performed if, 48 hours after the objectors were advised under subsection (2)(b) that the coroner still wishes to direct that the post-mortem be performed, none of them has lodged an objection under this subsection in the High Court.

    (4) In calculating the 48-hour period in subsection (3), hours count only if they are hours of working days.

    (5) An objection under subsection (3) is lodged by originating application in the manner provided by the High Court Rules (as defined in section 2 of the Judicature Act 1908).

35 Procedure for objection in High Court
  • (1) Judges of the High Court and employees of the Ministry of Justice must ensure an objection lodged in the High Court under section 34(3) (the objection) is disposed of as a matter of priority and urgency.

    (2) The Registrar must allocate a date for the hearing of the objection that is no later than 1 working day after the date on which the objection is lodged.

    (3) If the objection is lodged at a Registry of the High Court in a place where no High Court Judge is at that time available, the Registrar must ensure that the objection is dealt with in some other place within the time limit referred to in subsection (2); and any other Registrar or employee of the Ministry of Justice whose help is sought by the Registrar in whose Registry the application is filed has a corresponding obligation.

    (4) If subsection (3) applies, the Registrar must—

    • (a) make any urgent enquiries necessary to determine where and by whom the objection can most conveniently and expeditiously be dealt with; and

    • (b) forward the objection and any other relevant documents without delay to the Registrar at the place where the application is to be dealt with; and

    • (c) without delay, inform every party to the proceeding of the action taken under this section.

    (5) Subsections (3) and (4) apply in substitution for any provision of the High Court Rules relating to the transfer of notices of application filed at a time when a Judge is not present.

    (6) The High Court must either uphold the objection, or dismiss it by ordering that the coroner may direct under section 31 that the post-mortem be performed.

    Compare: 2001 No 31 ss 9, 10

36 Nature of post-mortem
  • (1) A post-mortem directed under section 31 is a full internal and external examination of the body unless the coroner, in the relevant direction under section 31, requires only a lesser examination.

    (2) Before requiring only a lesser examination in the relevant direction under section 31, the coroner must—

    • (a) consult the New Zealand Police about any evidential matters that may make a full internal and external examination of the body necessary or desirable; and

    • (b) consult the pathologist whom the coroner proposes to direct to perform in the examination about whether the lesser examination proposed would or may limit that pathologist's ability to determine the cause of death.

37 Post-mortem may be performed early in some cases
  • (1) If satisfied that there is good reason to do so, a coroner may, under section 31, direct a pathologist to perform a post-mortem immediately.

    (2) Good reason may exist for the purposes of subsection (1)—

    • (a) because any delay would or may limit the pathologist's ability to determine the cause of death; or

    • (b) because the person concerned is an infant; or

    • (c) because people having the ethnic origins, social attitudes or customs, or spiritual beliefs of, or of a member of the immediate family of, the person concerned, customarily require bodies to be available to family members as soon as possible after death.

    (3) Subsection (2) does not limit subsection (1).

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 9

38 Who may attend post-mortem
  • (1) The following persons are the only persons who may attend a post-mortem of a body that a coroner has directed a pathologist to perform under section 31:

    • (a) the pathologist directed to perform the post-mortem, and the coroner who directed that pathologist to perform it:

    • (b) another pathologist participating in, and helping with, the post-mortem, if authorised to attend by a coroner on an application for the purpose by or on behalf of the pathologist directed to perform the post-mortem:

    • (c) a doctor who attended the person concerned before death:

    • (d) a doctor, nurse, or funeral director attending as the representative of the family of the person who is, or of a person who is suspected to be, the dead person concerned, if authorised to attend by a coroner on an application for the purpose by or on behalf of that family:

    • (e) a doctor attending as the representative of a person (A) who has been, or may be, charged with a criminal offence relating to the death concerned or its circumstances, if authorised to attend by a coroner on an application for the purpose by or on behalf of A:

    • (f) any other doctor, or person training to be a doctor, if authorised to attend (for training purposes, or for any other purposes specified) by a coroner on an application for the purpose by or on behalf of the pathologist directed to perform the post-mortem:

    • (g) a member of the police:

    • (h) any other person, if authorised to attend by a coroner.

    (2) No doctor, nurse, or funeral director is responsible for the conduct of, or may participate in otherwise than by observing, a post-mortem just because he or she attends the post-mortem as a representative in accordance with subsection (1)(d) or (e).

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 10(1), (3)–(5)

39 Definitions for section 38
  • In section 38 and this section,—

    funeral director means a person—

    • (a) with a national qualification in funeral directing or embalming or both; or

    • (b) recognised as a funeral director by a body of persons whose business is, or includes, disposing of bodies

    national qualification means a qualification registered on the National Qualifications Framework

    National Qualifications Framework means the framework for national qualifications in secondary schools and in post-school education and training developed by the Qualifications Authority under section 253(1)(c) of the Education Act 1989

    nurse means a health practitioner who is, or is deemed to be, registered with the Nursing Council of New Zealand continued by section 114(1)(a) of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 as a practitioner of the profession of nursing whose scope of practice permits the performance of general nursing functions

    Qualifications Authority means the New Zealand Qualifications Authority established by Part 20 of the Education Act 1989.

    Compare: 2000 No 94 s 4

40 Coroner may require person's doctor to report
  • A coroner may, by written notice to a doctor who attended a person before death, require the doctor to give the coroner a written report (containing information specified in the notice) relating to the person.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 10(2)

41 High Court may order post-mortem in certain circumstances
  • (1) The Solicitor-General may apply to the High Court for an order that a pathologist be directed under section 31 by the Solicitor-General to perform a post-mortem of a body.

    (2) On an application under subsection (1), the High Court may order that a pathologist be directed under section 31 by the Solicitor-General to perform a post-mortem of a body, but only if the High Court is satisfied that—

    • (a) the performance of a post-mortem of the body is necessary or desirable for the purposes of this Act; and

    • (b) the coroner who might have directed its performance has failed or refused to do so.

    (3) A pathologist must perform a post-mortem of a body if the pathologist is, in accordance with an order of the High Court under subsection (2), directed under section 31 by the Solicitor-General to perform the post-mortem of the body.

    (4) Despite section 42(1) (release of bodies), if an order is made under subsection (2),—

    • (a) the Solicitor-General may, for the purposes of the post-mortem concerned, give any directions he or she thinks fit relating to the removal of the body concerned; and

    • (b) until the authorised post-mortem has been completed, no coroner may—

      • (i) give any directions under section 20 relating to the removal of the body; or

      • (ii) authorise the release of the body under section 42.

    (5) The following sections apply to a direction under subsection (4)(a) as if it were a direction by a coroner under section 20:

    • (b) section 131 (power to seize evidence relevant to post-mortem):

    • (c) section 136 (non-compliance with direction about removal of body).

    (6) The following sections apply to a post-mortem ordered to be directed to be performed under this section as if the Solicitor-General were a coroner who had directed the pathologist concerned to perform it:

    • (a) section 23 (coroner must give family representative, immediate family, and certain others notice of significant matters):

    • (b) section 37 (post-mortem may be performed early in some cases):

    • (d) section 40 (coroner may require person's doctor to report):

    • (e) section 131 (power to seize evidence relevant to post-mortem).

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 39

Release of bodies, and retention and return of body parts and bodily samples

42 Release of bodies
  • (1) A coroner to whom a death has been reported under section 15(2)(a) or section 16(2)(b) must, if not prohibited from doing so by section 43 or 44, authorise the release of the body concerned as soon as he or she is satisfied that it is no longer necessary to withhold it from family members.

    (2) The coroner may, if not prohibited from doing so by section 43 or 44, authorise the release of the body.

    (3) The coroner's authorisation must be—

    • (a) given by written notice in the prescribed form; and

    • (b) signed by the coroner.

    (4) A body whose release a coroner has authorised under this section may be released accordingly.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 ss 13(2), 14

43 Restriction on release if no post-mortem directed
  • (1) A coroner who decides not to direct a pathologist to perform a post-mortem of a body under section 31 must not authorise its release under section 42 earlier than 24 hours after notifying a member of the police of the decision.

    (2) Subsection (1) does not apply if a member of the police of the level of position of senior sergeant or above agrees to the coroner authorising the release of the body within the 24-hour period referred to in that subsection.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 13(3)

    Section 43(2): amended, on 1 October 2008, by section 130(1) of the Policing Act 2008 (2008 No 72).

44 Restriction on release if parts or samples to be retained
  • A coroner who directs a pathologist to perform a post-mortem of a body under section 31 and who knows the pathologist wishes to retain a body part or bodily sample under section 48(2) must not authorise the release of the body under section 42 without first having determined as soon as practicable whether the retention of the part or sample is permitted by section 48(2).

45 Release of still-born children
  • A coroner may authorise the release of a child under section 42 (and references in this Act to the body must be taken to include a reference to the child) if—

    • (a) the coroner directed a pathologist to perform a post-mortem of the child under section 31; and

    • (b) the pathologist concluded, as a result of the post-mortem, that the child is a still-born child; and

    • (c) the coroner therefore determines that the only jurisdiction he or she has to act further in respect of the child is to authorise the release of the child in accordance with this section.

46 Costs of transporting body moved for post-mortem, etc
  • (1) This section applies to a body transported to another location in accordance with a coroner's direction, or for the purposes of a post-mortem directed under section 31.

    (2) The Commissioner of Police is responsible for—

    • (a) the costs of transporting the body back to its location when the direction was made or the post-mortem was directed; or

    • (b) the costs of transporting the body to another location if, or only to the extent that, those costs do not exceed the costs referred to in paragraph (a).

    (3) This section does not prevent the Commissioner of Police from meeting any other costs of transporting the body.

47 Receipt, removal, and taking of parts and samples
  • (1) A pathologist may, with no further authority than this section, receive or remove a body part, take a bodily sample, or both, if the pathologist believes on reasonable grounds that the receipt, removal, or taking concerned is necessary for the purposes of a post-mortem of a body directed by a coroner under section 31.

    (2) A body part removed, or bodily sample taken, by a pathologist for the purposes of the post-mortem must be as small as possible for the kind of analysis or examination for which the part is removed or the sample is taken.

    (3) The number of body parts received or removed, bodily samples taken, or both, must be no greater than is necessary for the purposes of the post-mortem.

    (4) Nothing in this section prevents any other receipt, removal, or taking of a part or sample authorised by law.

48 Retention of parts and samples on release of body
  • (1) This section applies to a body if—

    • (a) a coroner has directed under section 31 that a post-mortem of the body be performed, and proposes to authorise the release of the body under section 42; and

    • (b) the pathologist has removed a body part or taken a bodily sample, or has received a body part separately from other parts of the body concerned.

    (2) The pathologist is, when the body is released, permitted to retain the body part or bodily sample, but only if—

    • (a) the part or sample is a minute one received, removed, or taken for microscopic analysis, or other analysis that requires only a minute part or sample, and is, in the pathologist's opinion, necessary for the purposes of the post-mortem; or

    • (b) the retention is, in the pathologist's opinion, necessary for the purposes of the post-mortem, and is authorised by the coroner in accordance with section 49; or

    • (c) the pathologist explained to the family members or other people to whom the body is to be released that the pathologist proposed to retain the part or sample for a specified purpose and none of those members or people objected to the pathologist's proposal.

49 Coroner's authorisation under section 48(2)(b)
  • A coroner may authorise the retention of a body part or bodily sample under section 48(2)(b) only in writing signed by the coroner, and only if the pathologist has first notified the coroner in writing of—

    • (a) the part or sample proposed to be retained; and

    • (b) the reasons for, and likely duration of, the proposed retention.

50 Coroner must notify family, etc, of retention, and of right to request return, of retained parts and samples
  • (1) If a part or sample has been, or is to be, retained under section 48(2)(a) or (b) , the coroner must, on or before releasing the body,—

    • (a) notify the family members or other people to whom the body is or is to be released of the retention or proposed retention of the part or sample; and

    • (b) comply with section 23 (coroner must give family representative, immediate family, and certain others notice of significant matters) in relation to the retention or proposed retention of the part or sample.

    (2) The notice required by subsection (1) of the retention or proposed retention of the part or sample must—

    • (a) identify the part or sample that is to be, or has been, retained:

    • (b) explain the authority and reasons for the retention or proposed retention:

    • (c) indicate how long the pathologist expects the part or sample to need to be retained for those reasons:

    • (d) indicate (if known by the coroner) whether, and, if so, to what extent, the part or sample is likely to be destroyed in the course of being used for the purpose for which it is retained.

    (3) That notice must also advise that the family members or other people to whom the body is or is to be released—

    • (a) have the right to request, under this section, the return (to the extent permitted by this Act) of the part or sample once it is no longer needed, and to the extent that it has not been destroyed in the course of use, for the purpose for which it is to be, or has been, retained; and

    • (b) may exercise that right at any time within 5 working days after having been advised of it.

51 Pathologists proposing to retain parts or samples under section 48(2)(c) must advise of right to request return
  • In ascertaining whether the family members or other people to whom the body is to be released object to a proposal under section 48(2)(c) to retain a part or sample for a specified purpose, the pathologist must advise them that, if they do not object to the proposal, they—

    • (a) have the right to request, under this section, the return (to the extent permitted by this Act) of the part or sample once it is no longer needed, and to the extent that it has not been destroyed in the course of use, for that purpose; and

    • (b) may exercise that right at any time within 5 working days after having been advised of it.

52 Requests for return of retained parts and samples
  • (1) This section applies to a request, under section 50 or 51, for the return of a body part or bodily sample.

    (2) If the request is not expressly confined to 1 or more specified parts or samples, it must be treated as seeking the return of all parts and samples retained in relation to the body concerned.

    (3) The request need not describe specifically or technically the part or sample, but must be in writing and may, but need not, be in a form approved for the purpose by the chief coroner.

53 Parts and samples whose retention is not permitted must generally be returned when body released
  • (1) A pathologist who is not permitted by section 48 to retain a body part or bodily sample must, to the extent that it has not been destroyed in the course of analysis conducted for the purposes of the post-mortem,—

    • (a) restore it, before the body is released, to the appropriate place in the body, if restoration of that kind is reasonably practicable; or

    • (b) ensure it is, before the body is released, in some other way reunited appropriately with the body, if reunion of that kind is reasonably practicable but restoration of that kind is not; or

    • (c) dispose of it as soon as is reasonably convenient after the release of the body, if neither restoration nor reunion of that kind is reasonably practicable.

    (2) This section is subject to section 54.

54 Restrictions on return and disposal
  • (1) A part or sample referred to in section 53 or 55 may be retained, or may be returned subject to specified conditions (for example, conditions relating to the storage of the part or sample in a sealed container) if, in the pathologist's opinion, returning it, or returning it otherwise than subject to the specified conditions, would endanger the health or safety of the public or a member of the public.

    (2) No part or sample referred to in section 53 or 55 or section 56 may be returned or disposed of under that section unless—

    • (a) the coroner has first confirmed in writing that the return or disposal (as the case requires) of the part or sample appears unlikely to prejudice the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution, and punishment of criminal offences relating to the death concerned or its circumstances; and

    • (b) the return or disposal is otherwise lawful.

55 Return on request of retained parts and samples
  • (1) This section applies to a part or sample whose return is sought by a request under section 50 or 51.

    (2) The part or sample must, to the extent that it has not been destroyed in the course of analysis conducted for the purpose for which it was retained, be returned to the makers of the request when the part or sample is no longer required for that purpose.

    (3) However, the part or sample need not be returned, and may be used and disposed of under section 56, if the makers of the request cannot, after all reasonable efforts for the purpose have been made, be located.

    (4) Subsection (3) overrides subsection (2).

    (5) This section is subject to section 54.

56 Use and disposal of retained parts or samples whose return is not requested
  • (1) This section applies to a part or sample retained under section 48(2) if—

    • (a) no request for its return was made under section 50 or 51; or

    • (b) a request of that kind was made but the part or sample may, under section 55(3), be used and disposed of under this section because the makers of the request cannot, after all reasonable efforts for the purpose have been made, be located.

    (2) The part or sample may, to the extent that it has not been destroyed in the course of analysis conducted for the purpose for which it was taken, and without further authority than this section, be retained and used by the pathologist for any or all of the following purposes:

    • (a) analysis for the purposes of the post-mortem of the part or sample using techniques unavailable when it was performed:

    • (b) any use that is necessary or desirable for auditing or evaluation of, or training for, coronial post-mortems.

    (3) Subsection (2) does not prevent other retention and use authorised by law.

    (4) The part or sample must be disposed of by the pathologist as soon as is reasonably convenient if the part or sample—

    • (a) is not to be retained and used as provided in subsection (2); or

    • (b) has been retained and used in that way, but is no longer required for a purpose in subsection (2).

    (5) This section is subject to section 54.

Part 3
Inquiries into causes and circumstances of deaths

Inquiries

57 Purposes of inquiries
  • (1) A coroner opens and conducts an inquiry (including any related inquest) for the 3 purposes stated in this section, and not to determine civil, criminal, or disciplinary liability.

    (2) The first purpose is to establish, so far as possible,—

    • (a) that a person has died; and

    • (b) the person's identity; and

    • (c) when and where the person died; and

    • (d) the causes of the death; and

    • (e) the circumstances of the death.

    (3) The second purpose is to make specified recommendations or comments (as defined in section 9) that, in the coroner's opinion, may, if drawn to public attention, reduce the chances of the occurrence of other deaths in circumstances similar to those in which the death occurred.

    (4) The third purpose is to determine whether the public interest would be served by the death being investigated by other investigating authorities in the performance or exercise of their functions, powers, or duties, and to refer the death to them if satisfied that the public interest would be served by their investigating it in the performance or exercise of their functions, powers, or duties.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 15(1)

58 Adverse comments by coroners
  • (1) A coroner may, in the course of, or as part of the findings of, an inquiry, comment on the conduct, in relation to the circumstances of the death concerned, of any person.

    (2) The coroner must not comment adversely on a dead person without—

    • (a) indicating an intention to do so; and

    • (b) adjourning the inquiry for at least 5 working days; and

    • (c) notifying every member of the person's immediate family who during the adjournment requests the coroner to do so of the proposed comment; and

    • (d) giving every such member a reasonable opportunity to be heard, either personally or by counsel, in relation to the proposed comment.

    (3) The coroner must not comment adversely on a living person, corporation sole, body corporate, or unincorporated body without—

    • (a) taking all reasonable steps to notify the person, corporation, or body of the proposed comment; and

    • (b) giving the person, corporation, or body a reasonable opportunity to be heard, either personally or by counsel, in relation to the proposed comment.

    (4) Notifications, or opportunities to be heard, required to be given to a body corporate or unincorporated body must be given to an officer or other representative of the body who is, or appears to be, authorised by the body for the purpose.

    (5) This section overrides section 57 (purposes of inquiries), but is subject to section 68 (procedure if person charged with offence).

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 15(2)

59 Jurisdiction of coroners to open inquiries
  • A coroner to whom a death is reported under section 15(2)(a) or section 16(2)(b) must not open an inquiry into it unless—

    • (a) the body of the person concerned is in New Zealand; or

    • (b) the coroner is satisfied that it is likely that the person concerned is dead, and that the person's body—

      • (i) is destroyed, irrecoverable, or lost; but

      • (ii) was in New Zealand immediately before it was destroyed, or became irrecoverable or lost; or

    • (c) the body of the person concerned is not in New Zealand, but—

      • (i) the death occurred outside New Zealand on or from an aircraft or a ship; and

      • (ii) the Solicitor-General has authorised the coroner to open an inquiry into the death.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 16

60 Deaths into which inquiries must be opened
  • (1) A coroner to whom a death is reported under section 15(2)(a) or section 16(2)(b) must open and conduct an inquiry into it—

    • (a) if it appears to have been—

      • (i) self-inflicted; or

      • (ii) a death in official custody or care (as defined in section 9); or

    • (b) if the coroner is not satisfied that the matters required by this Act to be established by an inquiry are already adequately disclosed in respect of the death by information arising from investigations or examinations the coroner has made or caused to be made.

    (2) This section is subject to section 59 (jurisdiction of coroners to open inquiries) and section 61 (deaths where coroner may decide not to open inquiries).

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 17

61 Deaths where coroner may decide not to open inquiries
  • (1) The coroner to whom a death has been reported under section 15(2)(a) or section 16(2)(b) may decide not to open an inquiry into it if satisfied that—

    • (a) the death occurred outside New Zealand, or was caused by matters arising outside New Zealand; and

    • (b) an inquiry or investigation into it has been or will be conducted outside New Zealand.

    (2) The coroner to whom a death has been reported under section 15(2)(a) or section 16(2)(b) may decide not to open an inquiry into it if satisfied that the death occurred outside New Zealand, and otherwise than on or from—

    • (b) a New Zealand ship (as defined in section 2(1) of the Maritime Transport Act 1994); or

    • (c) an aircraft or ship of the Armed Forces (as defined in section 2(1) of the Armed Forces Discipline Act 1971).

    (3) This section is subject to sections 95 to 97 (inquiries or further inquiries ordered by Solicitor-General or High Court).

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 18

62 Other deaths
  • (1) The coroner to whom a death has been reported under section  15(2)(a) or section 16(2)(b) must decide whether or not to open and conduct an inquiry into it.

    (2) This section is subject to the following sections:

    • (a) section 59 (jurisdiction of coroners to open inquiries):

    • (b) section 60 (deaths into which inquiries must be opened):

    • (c) sections 95 to 97 (inquiries or further inquiries ordered by Solicitor-General or High Court).

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 19

63 Decision whether to open and conduct inquiry
  • In deciding whether to open and conduct an inquiry, a coroner must have regard to the following matters:

    • (a) whether or not the causes of the death concerned appear to have been natural; and

    • (b) in the case of a death that appears to have been unnatural or violent, whether or not it appears to have been due to the actions or inaction of any other person; and

    • (c) the existence and extent of any allegations, rumours, suspicions, or public concern, about the death; and

    • (d) the extent to which the drawing of attention to the circumstances of the death may be likely to reduce the chances of the occurrence of other deaths in similar circumstances; and

    • (e) the desire of any members of the immediate family of the person who is or appears to be the person concerned that an inquiry should be conducted; and

    • (f) any other matters the coroner thinks fit.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 20(1)

64 Duties of coroner who decides not to open inquiry
  • (1) A coroner who decides not to open an inquiry into a death must notify the Secretary, in the prescribed form, of the decision.

    (2) The prescribed form must contain or have attached to it (as the case requires) the prescribed information (which must include the coroner's reasons for the decision).

    (3) The prescribed form must also be accompanied by a written statement as to the identity of the person concerned and that—

    • (a) is signed by the person making it; and

    • (b) shows that the person's signature has been witnessed either by a member of the police or by a person (not being a member of the police) the coroner authorised to witness that signature.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 20(2)

65 Coroner may decide to open inquiry despite initial decision
  • (1) A coroner who, after deciding not to open an inquiry, becomes satisfied (whether because of information not available at the time of deciding, or for any other reason) that it is desirable to open an inquiry into the death concerned, may do so.

    (2) Clause 14 of Schedule 3 empowers a coroner to open an inquiry under this section following a decision under section 20 of the Coroners Act 1988 not to hold an inquest.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 20(3)

66 Which coroner conducts inquiry
  • (1) An inquiry the High Court or Solicitor-General orders to be opened under any of sections 95 to 97 is conducted by—

    • (a) the coroner specified in the order under that section; or

    • (b) the coroner authorised by the chief coroner if the order concerned specifies that the inquiry is to be opened and conducted by a coroner authorised by the chief coroner.

    (2) Every other inquiry is conducted by the coroner to whom the death concerned has been reported under section 15(2)(a) or section 16(2)(b) (coroner A) unless under subsection (3) the chief coroner authorises a coroner other than coroner A to conduct the inquiry, in which case the other coroner conducts the inquiry instead of coroner A.

    (3) The chief coroner may authorise a coroner other than coroner A to conduct an inquiry to which subsection (2) applies if the chief coroner is satisfied that—

    • (a) coroner A has a personal interest in the inquiry; or

    • (b) it is necessary or desirable that coroner A not conduct the inquiry because of his or her workload, or his or her expertise or lack of expertise in particular areas; or

    • (c) there is some other good reason why coroner A should not conduct the inquiry.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 22

67 Chief coroner and Secretary to be notified of inquiry
  • A coroner who opens an inquiry under any of sections 60, 62, and 65, or in accordance with an order under any of sections 95 to 97, must notify the following, in the prescribed form, that the inquiry has been opened:

    • (a) the chief coroner; and

    • (b) the Secretary.

68 Procedure if person charged with offence
  • (1) This subsection applies to a coroner to whom a death has been reported under section 15(2)(a) or section 16(2)(b) and who—

    • (a) has been informed that some person has been, or may be, charged with a criminal offence relating to the death or its circumstances; and

    • (b) is satisfied that to open or (as the case requires) proceed with an inquiry might prejudice the person.

    (2) A coroner to whom subsection (1) applies may—

    • (a) postpone opening an inquiry into the death; or

    • (b) open an inquiry into the death and then adjourn it; or

    • (c) adjourn an inquiry already opened into the death.

    (3) A coroner who has under subsection (2) postponed or adjourned an inquiry must not open or proceed with it until criminal proceedings against the person have been finally concluded (as defined in subsection (6)).

    (4) Subsections (2) and (3) do not limit or affect sections 44 and 45 of the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995 (which require the coroner to notify a Registrar of the death).

    (5) Despite subsection (3), a coroner who has under subsection (2) postponed or adjourned an inquiry may later open or resume it if satisfied that—

    • (a) the person is no longer to be charged with a criminal offence relating to the death or its circumstances; or

    • (b) to open or resume it would not prejudice the person charged, or thought likely to be charged, with a criminal offence relating to the death or its circumstances.

    (6) Criminal proceedings are finally concluded for the purposes of this section if no appeal (or, as the case requires, no further appeal) can be made in the course of the proceedings unless the High Court, Court of Appeal, or Supreme Court grants an extension of time.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 28(1), (2), (4), (8)

    Section 68(4): amended, on 24 January 2009, by section 47 of the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Amendment Act 2008 (2008 No 48).

69 Procedure if some other investigation to be conducted
  • (1) This subsection applies to a coroner to whom a death has been reported under section 15(2)(a) or section 16(2)(b) and who is satisfied that—

    • (a) an investigation into the death or the circumstances in which it occurred is being or is likely to be conducted under some enactment other than this Act; and either

    • (b) the matters specified in section 57(2)(a) to (e) (purposes of inquiries) are likely to be established in respect of the death by an investigation of that kind; or

    • (c) to open or continue with an inquiry would be likely to prejudice the investigation or any person interested in it.

    (2) A coroner to whom subsection (1) applies may—

    • (a) postpone opening an inquiry into the death; or

    • (b) adjourn an inquiry already opened into it.

    (3) A coroner who has under subsection (2) postponed or adjourned an inquiry may open or resume it if satisfied that—

    • (a) an investigation into the death or the circumstances in which it occurred is not likely to be conducted under any enactment other than this Act; or

    • (b) an investigation of that kind is being or is to be conducted, but—

      • (i) the matters specified in section 57(2)(a) to (e) (purposes of inquiries) are unlikely to be established in respect of the death by the investigation; and

      • (ii) to open or resume the inquiry will not prejudice the investigation or any person interested in it.

    (4) This section does not limit section 119.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 28(3), (5)

70 Coroner may decide not to open or resume postponed or adjourned inquiry
  • (1) This subsection applies to an inquiry postponed or adjourned under either of the following sections:

    • (a) section 68 (procedure if person charged with offence):

    • (b) section 69 (procedure if some other investigation to be conducted).

    (2) A coroner may decide not to open or resume an inquiry to which subsection (1) applies if satisfied that the matters specified in section 57(2)(a) to (e) (purposes of inquiries) have been adequately established in respect of the death concerned in the course of the criminal proceedings or investigation concerned.

    (3) Subsection (2) applies whether or not the criminal proceedings are finally concluded (as defined in section 68(6)) and overrides section 60 (deaths into which inquiries must be opened).

    (4) A coroner who decides under subsection (2) not to open or resume an inquiry must give the Secretary written notice of the decision.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 28(6), (7)

71 Restrictions on making public of details of self-inflicted deaths
  • (1) No person may, without a coroner's authority, make public any particular relating to the manner in which a death occurred if—

    • (a) the death occurred in New Zealand after the commencement of this section; and

    • (b) there is reasonable cause to believe the death was self-inflicted; and

    • (c) no inquiry into the death has been completed.

    (2) If a coroner has found a death to be self-inflicted, no person may, without a coroner's authority or permission under section 72, make public a particular of the death other than—

    • (a) the name, address, and occupation of the person concerned; and

    • (b) the fact that the coroner has found the death to be self-inflicted.

    (3) The only grounds on which a coroner may under this section authorise the making public of particulars of the death (other than those specified in subsection (2)(a) and (b)) are that the making public of particulars of that kind is unlikely to be detrimental to public safety.

    (4) In determining whether the grounds specified in subsection (3) are made out, a coroner must have regard to—

    • (a) the characteristics of the person who is, or is suspected to be, the dead person concerned; and

    • (b) matters specified in any relevant practice notes issued under section 132 by the chief coroner; and

    • (c) any other matters the coroner considers relevant.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 29(2), (3)(a)

72 Permission referred to in section 71(2)
  • For the purposes of section 71(2), this section gives permission for—

    • (a) the publication by the Independent Police Conduct Authority, under section 34(1)(b) of the Independent Police Conduct Authority Act 1988, of a report that includes a particular of the death; and

    • (b) the publication by the Commissioner of Police, under section 34(2) of that Act, of an opinion or recommendation under section 27 or 28 of that Act, or a part of any such opinion or recommendation, that includes a particular of the death; and

    • (c) the making public by a person of a particular of the death contained in any such report, opinion, recommendation, or part of an opinion or recommendation, published under that Act.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 29(3)(b)

    Section 72(a): amended, on 29 November 2007, by section 26 of the Independent Police Conduct Authority Amendment Act 2007 (2007 No 38).

73 Definitions for sections 71 and 74
  • In sections 71 and 74,—

    make public means publish by means of—

    • (c) a book, journal, magazine, newsletter, or other similar document; or

    • (d) a sound or visual recording; or

    • (e) an Internet site that is generally accessible to the public, or some other similar electronic means

    particular, in relation to a death, means a detail relating to the manner in which the death occurred, to the circumstances of the death, or to an inquiry into the death.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 29(1)

74 Coroner may prohibit making public of evidence given at any part of inquiry proceedings
  • If satisfied that it is in the interests of justice, decency, public order, or personal privacy to do so, a coroner may prohibit the making public of—

    • (a) any evidence given or submissions made at or for the purposes of any part of the proceedings of an inquiry (for example, at an inquest); and

    • (b) the name, and any name or particulars likely to lead to the identification, of any witness or witnesses.

    Compare: 1985 No 120 s 138(2); 1988 No 111 s 25(2)(b)

75 Review of coroner's decision as to making public of details, evidence, etc
  • (1) This subsection applies to a person affected by—

    • (a) a refusal to authorise the making public of particulars of a death under section 71; or

    (2) A person to whom subsection (1) applies may apply to a High Court Judge for a review of the refusal or prohibition.

    (3) Until the Judge reaches a decision on the application, the refusal or prohibition concerned continues in effect.

    (4) The Judge may (as the case requires), in the Judge's absolute discretion and on any ground the Judge thinks fit,—

    • (a) confirm the refusal, or revoke it and issue an authority; or

    • (b) confirm, modify, or revoke the prohibition.

    (5) An authority may be issued under subsection (4)(a) unconditionally, or subject to conditions the Judge thinks fit.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 30

76 People from whom evidence generally to be heard
  • (1) For the purposes of an inquiry, a coroner must (at an inquest or otherwise) receive evidence from any person—

    • (a) who offers, in respect of the death concerned, evidence relevant to any matter required by section 57(2)(a) to (e) (purposes of inquiries) to be established; or

    • (b) whom the coroner thinks it appropriate to examine.

    (2) The evidence received may be expert evidence.

    (3) Subsection (1) is subject to the rest of this Act.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 26(1)

77 Hearings on papers and chambers findings
  • (1) This subsection applies to a coroner who is satisfied that no person who, under section 76, is a person from whom evidence is generally to be heard for the purposes of an inquiry wishes to give evidence in person for the purposes of the inquiry.

    (2) A coroner to whom subsection (1) applies may, instead of holding an inquest, hold a hearing on the papers and make chambers findings if the coroner—

    • (a) gives notice under section 81 (date, etc, and notice of inquest) of the coroner's proposal to hold a hearing on the papers and make chambers findings, as if that proposal were an inquest; and

    • (b) has, at or after the end of the period referred to in subsection (3), received no notification of an intention to give evidence in person from a person who, under section 76, is a person from whom evidence is generally to be heard for the purposes of an inquiry.

    (3) The notice given under subsection (2)(a) must state the period (which must be a period that the coroner considers reasonable in the circumstances) within which a person to whom the notice is to be given may notify the coroner of an intention to give evidence in person.

    (4) A coroner who has given notice under subsection (2)(a) must hold an inquest instead of holding a hearing on the papers and making chambers findings if he or she receives a notification of the kind referred to in subsection (2)(b).

78 Protection for witnesses and counsel
  • The following have the same privileges and immunities as witnesses and counsel in courts of law:

    • (a) witnesses giving evidence (whether at inquests or otherwise) for the purposes of inquiries opened under this Act; and

    • (b) a person, corporation, or body being heard, in accordance with section 58(2) or (3), in relation to a proposed adverse comment by a coroner in the course, or as part of the findings, of an inquiry; and

    • (c) counsel appearing before coroners (whether at inquests or otherwise) for the purposes of this Act.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 42

79 Admission and verification of evidence
  • (1) A coroner may, for the purposes of an inquiry, admit any evidence the coroner thinks fit, whether or not it would be admissible in a court of law.

    (2) Despite subsection (1), a coroner must not admit any evidence for the purposes of an inquiry unless satisfied that its admission is necessary or desirable for the purposes stated in section 57 (purposes of inquiries).

    (3) Evidence given by a witness for the purposes of an inquiry must, if it is admitted by the coroner and not given at an inquest held for the purposes of the inquiry, be put into writing, read over by or to the witness, and signed by the witness.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 26(5), (6), (9)

Inquests

80 Decision to hold inquest
  • A coroner conducting an inquiry into a death—

    • (a) must decide to hold an inquest for the purposes of the inquiry if the death appears to have been a death in official custody or care (as defined in section 9); and

    • (b) may decide to hold an inquest for the purposes of the inquiry if the death does not appear to have been a death in official custody or care (as so defined).

81 Date, etc, and notice of inquest
  • (1) A coroner who decides to hold an inquest for the purposes of an inquiry must fix a date, time, and place for the inquest, and must—

    • (a) comply with section 23 (coroner must give family representative, immediate family, and certain others notice of significant matters) in relation to the date, time, and place fixed for the inquest and at least 10 working days before the date fixed; and

    • (b) give notice, at least 10 working days before the date fixed, of the date, time, and place fixed for the inquest to every person (not being a person to be notified under section 23) who has a sufficient interest in the subject or outcome of the inquiry concerned.

    (2) A coroner who becomes aware before or during the inquest that the people who have a sufficient interest in the inquiry concerned include a person who was not given notice under subsection (1) must—

    • (a) adjourn the inquiry so as to permit the person to prepare for, and attend, the inquest; and

    • (b) fix a new date, time, and place for the inquest; and

    • (c) ensure notice is given under subsection (1) of that new date, time, and place for the inquest.

    (3) In fixing under this section the place for an inquest, the coroner must have regard to the location (if known) where the death concerned appears to have occurred, and to the locations of the residences or principal places of business of all persons who the coroner knows—

    • (a) are members of the family of the person who is, or is suspected to be, the dead person concerned; or

    • (b) have a sufficient interest in the subject or outcome of the inquiry concerned; or

    • (c) will or may give evidence, or cross-examine witnesses giving evidence, at the inquest; or

    • (d) may be required to be heard, in accordance with section 58(2) or (3), in relation to a proposed adverse comment by the coroner in the course, or as part of the findings, of the inquiry concerned.

    (4) A failure to comply with subsection (1) or subsection (2) does not affect the validity of any action taken by or on behalf, or at the direction, of a coroner.

    (5) Subsection (4) does not limit or affect sections 95 to 97 (inquiries or further inquiries ordered by Solicitor-General or High Court).

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 23

82 Inquests usually to be before coroner alone
  • (1) Every inquest must be held before a coroner alone.

    (2) This section is subject to section 83.

83 Specialist advisers to sit with and help coroners
  • (1) If satisfied that it is desirable to do so, the chief coroner may, on the recommendation of a coroner, appoint a cultural, legal, medical, or other specialist adviser to sit with and help the coroner at an inquest by giving advice.

    (2) The coroner's recommendation that a specialist adviser be appointed must be made after having regard to any relevant practice notes issued under section 132 by the chief coroner.

    (3) The specialist adviser must give the advice—

    • (a) on any questions referred to the specialist adviser; and

    • (b) in any manner the coroner may direct.

    (4) The appointment of a specialist adviser ends when the coroner conducting the inquiry concerned completes and signs a certificate of findings in relation to the death concerned.

    (5) Advice given by a specialist adviser may be given any weight the coroner thinks fit.

    Compare: 1908 No 89 s 99B; 1988 No 111 s 21

84 Joint inquests
  • (1) This subsection applies to a coroner who opens 2 or more separate inquiries relating to 2 or more deaths arising out of the same incident or series of incidents.

    (2) A coroner to whom subsection (1) applies may, if he or she thinks fit to do so, decide to hold a single inquest for the purposes of the separate inquiries referred to in that subsection.

    (3) A joint inquest held in accordance with a decision under subsection (2) is conducted in the same way as any other inquest, except that in holding the inquest the coroner must have regard to any relevant practice notes issued under section 132 by the chief coroner.

85 Inquests usually to be public
  • (1) Every inquest must be held in a place that is open to the public.

    (2) This section is subject to sections 74, 86, and 87.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 25(1)

86 Coroner may exclude people from inquest
  • A coroner may exclude any person or people from all or a part of an inquest.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 25(2)(a)

87 Coroner may exclude witness until he or she gives evidence
  • A coroner may direct any witness whose evidence has not yet been heard at an inquest to remain, or go and remain, outside the place where the inquest is being held until required to give evidence.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 25(3)

88 Evidence at inquest
  • A person who gives evidence at an inquest—

    • (a) must (unless doing so by a written statement under section 90) do so orally on oath or affirmation; and

    • (b) may be cross-examined (either personally or by counsel) by the coroner or a person specified in section 89(1) (others who may cross-examine at inquest).

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 26(2), (3)

89 Others who may cross-examine at inquest
  • (1) The following people may, personally or by counsel, attend an inquest and cross-examine witnesses:

    • (a) any person to be given notice under section 23 (coroner must give family representative, immediate family, and certain others notice of significant matters); and

    • (b) any person notified of the date, time, and place of the inquest under section 81(1)(b) (either alone, or as applied by section 81(2)(c)).

    (2) This section is subject to sections 86 and 87, and does not affect the coroner's powers to regulate the procedure of, or maintain order at, the inquest.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 26(4)

90 Evidence by written statement confirmed by witness
  • (1) A witness at an inquest may give any evidence by tendering a previously prepared written statement and confirming it on oath or affirmation if—

    • (a) the coroner is satisfied that there is no reason making it desirable for the witness to give the evidence orally; and

    • (b) no person attending the inquest who is entitled to cross-examine the witness objects.

    (2) A witness who gives evidence at an inquest under subsection (1) may be cross-examined as if it had been given orally; and the written statement concerned forms part of the depositions of the inquest.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 26(7), (8)

91 Evidence at distance for purposes of inquest
  • (1) This subsection applies to a coroner who—

    • (a) intends to hold, or is holding, an inquest; and

    • (b) is satisfied that it is necessary or desirable to have any evidence taken at a place other than the place where the inquest is to be, or is being, held.

    (2) A coroner to whom subsection (1) applies may, by written notice signed by the coroner, authorise some other coroner or, if no other coroner is available, a Justice to take the evidence.

    (3) A coroner or Justice taking evidence under subsection (2) has the same powers in respect of taking it as the coroner holding the inquest concerned, and must give notice under section 81 (date, etc, and notice of inquest) of the taking of the evidence as if it were the inquest concerned.

    (4) The following sections apply to the taking of evidence under subsection (2) as if it were being taken at an inquest:

    • (a) section 76 (people from whom evidence generally to be heard):

    • (d) section 89 (others who may cross-examine at inquest):

    • (e) section 90 (evidence by written statement confirmed by witness).

    (5) Evidence given by a witness under subsection (2) and admitted by a coroner or Justice must be put into writing, read over to or by the witness, and signed by the witness and the coroner or Justice, who must send it to the coroner holding the inquest concerned; and that coroner must receive it and act upon it as if it had been given and admitted at the inquest concerned.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 27

Completion of inquiries

92 Body must be viewed before certain inquiries concluded
  • (1) No coroner may issue a certificate of interim findings, or conclude an inquiry, unless satisfied the body concerned—

    • (a) has been viewed in New Zealand; or

    • (b) is destroyed, irrecoverable, or lost, but was in New Zealand immediately before it—

      • (i) was destroyed; or

      • (ii) became irrecoverable or lost.

    (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to an inquiry the opening of which was authorised by the Solicitor-General under section 59(c) (jurisdiction of coroners to open inquiries).

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 24(1)

93 Certificate of and written reasons for interim findings
  • (1) Before concluding an inquiry, the coroner conducting it may, after considering all the evidence admitted to date for the purposes of the inquiry, and in the light of the purposes stated in section 57, complete and sign a certificate of interim findings in relation to the death concerned.

    (2) The certificate of interim findings must be in the prescribed form, which must require the coroner to state in writing the reasons for his or her interim findings.

    (3) The coroner must send the completed and signed certificate of findings to the Secretary.

94 Certificate of and written reasons for findings
  • (1) The coroner conducting and completing an inquiry must consider all the evidence admitted for the purposes of the inquiry and, in the light of the purposes stated in section 57, complete and sign a certificate of findings in relation to the death concerned.

    (2) The certificate of findings must be in the prescribed form, which must require the coroner to state in writing the reasons for his or her findings.

    (3) The certificate of findings may differ from, and once issued supersedes, any certificate of interim findings issued by the coroner in relation to the death concerned.

    (4) The coroner must send the completed and signed certificate of findings to the Secretary, together with—

    • (a) all depositions of evidence admitted for the purposes of the inquiry; and

    • (b) a certificate of the registration of the death (if applicable); and

    • (c) if the inquiry was opened pursuant to the authority of the Solicitor-General given under section 59(c) (jurisdiction of coroners to open inquiries), a copy of the Solicitor-General's authority; and

    • (d) any specified recommendations or comments (as defined in section 9) made under section 57(3) (purposes of inquiries).

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 31

Inquiries or further inquiries ordered by Solicitor-General or High Court

95 Inquiry if coroner has failed or refused to open one
  • (1) If satisfied that an inquiry is necessary or desirable and that the coroner by whom the inquiry should be opened has failed or refused to open one, the Solicitor-General or the High Court may order an inquiry to be opened; and in that case an inquiry must be opened and conducted.

    (2) This section is subject to clause 15 of Schedule 3.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 40(2)

96 Inquiry if new facts discovered
  • (1) If satisfied that since a coroner decided not to open an inquiry into a death new facts have been discovered that make it desirable to open one and that one has not been opened under section 65 (coroner may decide to open inquiry despite initial decision), the Solicitor-General may order one to be opened; and in that case an inquiry must be opened and conducted.

    (2) This section is subject to clause 16 of Schedule 3.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 38(1)

97 Further inquiry if sufficient reason
  • (1) If satisfied that 1 or more inquiries have been conducted into a death but another should be conducted because of fraud, rejection of evidence, irregularity of proceedings, or discovery of new facts, or for any other sufficient reason, the Solicitor-General or the High Court may order another to be opened; and in that case another must be opened and conducted.

    (2) This section is subject to clause 17 of Schedule 3.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 ss 38(2), 40(3)

98 Sections 95 to 97 subject to general jurisdiction
99 Exercise of powers under sections 95 to 97
  • The Solicitor-General's powers under sections 95 to 97 may be exercised on his or her own initiative, but the High Court's powers under those sections may be exercised only on an application made for the purpose by the Solicitor-General under the section concerned.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 ss 38, 40(1)

100 Form and service of orders under sections 95 to 97
  • An order under any of sections 95 to 97 must be in writing, and must either—

    • (a) specify the coroner who is to open and conduct the inquiry, and be served on that coroner; or

    • (b) specify that it is to be opened and conducted by a coroner (who may, but need not, be a coroner who has not previously opened an inquiry into the death concerned) authorised by the chief coroner, and be served on the chief coroner, who must serve it on the coroner authorised.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 ss 38(3), 40(4)

101 Coroner must open and conduct inquiry accordingly
  • The coroner on whom an order is served in accordance with section 100 must open and conduct the inquiry concerned accordingly.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 ss 38(3), 40(4)

102 Procedure at inquiries ordered under sections 95 to 97
  • (1) The findings of an inquiry conducted pursuant to any of sections 95 to 97 replace the findings at every previous inquiry (if any) conducted in respect of the death concerned.

    (2) Except to the extent that the Solicitor-General or the High Court may have ordered otherwise under section 95 or 96 or 97, all depositions taken for the purposes of any former inquiry into a death must be deemed to have been taken for the purposes of an inquiry into the death held pursuant to that section.

    (3) Except as provided in this section and sections 95 to 97, an inquiry held pursuant to any of those sections must be held in the same manner as any other inquiry.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 41

Part 4
Appointments, administration, powers, offences and penalties, and technical provisions

Appointments

103 Coroners
  • (1) The Governor-General may from time to time, by warrant, appoint fit and proper people to be coroners.

    (2) Each one of those people must have held a practising certificate as a barrister or solicitor for at least 5 years.

    (3) The appointment must be made on the advice of the Attorney-General, given after consultation with the Minister.

    (4) Every coroner vacates that office, if he or she has not earlier done so in another way, on attaining the age of 70 years.

    (5) However, a former coroner of or over the age of 70 years may from time to time be reappointed for a term not exceeding 12 months specified in the warrant of reappointment.

    Section 103(4): amended, on 1 July 2007, by section 4(1) of the Coroners Act 2006 Amendment Act 2007 (2007 No 6).

    Section 103(5): amended, on 1 July 2007, by section 4(2) of the Coroners Act 2006 Amendment Act 2007 (2007 No 6).

104 Relief coroners
  • (1) The Governor-General may from time to time, by warrant, appoint fit and proper people to be relief coroners.

    (2) Each one of those people must have held a practising certificate as a barrister or solicitor for at least 5 years.

    (3) The appointment must be for a period not exceeding 5 years, but the person is eligible for reappointment.

    (4) The appointment must be made on the advice of the Attorney-General, given after consultation with the Minister.

    (5) Every relief coroner vacates that office, if he or she has not earlier done so in another way, on attaining the age of 70 years.

    (6) However, a former coroner or former relief coroner of or over the age of 70 years may from time to time be reappointed as a relief coroner for a term not exceeding 12 months specified in the warrant of reappointment.

    (7) The number of relief coroners (which is unaffected by the maximum number of coroners permitted by section 109(1)), and their locations, are determined from time to time by the Minister on the advice of the chief coroner.

    (8) A relief coroner acts in the place of, or helps, a coroner, but only when authorised to do so by the chief coroner.

    (9) A relief coroner who is acting in the place of a coroner may rely on actions by, or steps involving, the coroner, as if they were actions by, or steps involving, the relief coroner.

    Section 104(5): amended, on 1 July 2007, by section 5(1) of the Coroners Act 2006 Amendment Act 2007 (2007 No 6).

    Section 104(6): amended, on 1 July 2007, by section 5(2) of the Coroners Act 2006 Amendment Act 2007 (2007 No 6).

105 Chief coroner
  • (1) The Governor-General must, by warrant, appoint a fit and proper person as chief coroner.

    (2) No person can be appointed under this section as chief coroner unless he or she is a District Court Judge or coroner immediately before being appointed as chief coroner, or is appointed as a coroner when appointed as the chief coroner.

    (3) The appointment must be made on the advice of the Attorney-General, given after consultation with the Minister.

    (4) The appointment must be for a period not exceeding 8 years, and the person is not eligible for reappointment.

    (5) The person's appointment as chief coroner ceases if he or she ceases to hold office as a coroner.

    (6) With the Governor-General's prior approval, the chief coroner may by written notice to the Attorney-General resign from the office of chief coroner but continue in office as a coroner.

    (7) Despite subsection (4), the chief coroner continues in office until he or she resigns or his or her successor comes into office.

    (8) To avoid doubt, a person does not cease to hold office as a coroner solely because the person's appointment as chief coroner comes to an end.

106 Acting chief coroner
  • The Governor-General may appoint another coroner to act as chief coroner until the chief coroner resumes the performance and exercise of the functions, powers, and duties of that office if the chief coroner is, by illness, absence from New Zealand, or by some other cause, prevented from performing and exercising those functions, powers, and duties.

107 Concurrent office or employment
  • (1) A person who holds a coronial office may hold another judicial office, but must not undertake any other paid employment or hold any non-judicial office (whether paid or not) unless the Attorney-General is satisfied that the employment or non-judicial office is compatible with the coronial office.

    (2) Coronial office means any of the offices of chief coroner, acting chief coroner, coroner, or relief coroner.

108 Coroners act full-time unless authorised to act part-time
  • (1) A coroner acts as a coroner full-time unless he or she is authorised by the Attorney-General to act part-time.

    (2) The Attorney-General may, in accordance with subsection (4), authorise a coroner appointed under section 103 (coroners) or section 104 (relief coroners) to act part-time for any specified period.

    (3) To avoid doubt, an authorisation under subsection (2) may take effect as from a coroner's appointment or at any other time, and may be given more than once in respect of the same coroner.

    (4) The Attorney-General may (after consultation with the Minister) authorise a coroner to act part-time only—

    • (a) at the request of the coroner; and

    • (b) with the concurrence of the chief coroner.

    (5) In considering whether to concur under subsection (4)(b), the chief coroner must have regard to the need for coronial investigations to be conducted in an orderly and expeditious way.

    (6) A coroner who is authorised to act part-time must resume acting full-time at the end of the authorised part-time period.

    (7) The basis on which a coroner acts must not be altered during the term of the coroner's appointment without the coroner's consent, but consent under this subsection is not necessary if the alteration is required by subsection (6).

    (8) Nothing in this section applies to a person who (under section 8(d) of the District Courts Act 1947) is a coroner by virtue of holding office as a District Court Judge.

    Compare: 1947 No 16 s 5AA

109 Maximum number of coroners
  • (1) The maximum number of coroners is 20.

    (2) For the purposes of subsection (1),—

    • (a) a person who (under section 8(d) of the District Courts Act 1947) is a coroner by virtue of holding office as a District Court Judge does not count unless he or she is also the chief coroner:

    • (b) a person who is a relief coroner does not count:

    • (c) a coroner who is acting on a full-time basis counts as 1:

    • (d) a coroner who is acting on a part-time basis counts as an appropriate fraction of 1:

    • (e) the aggregate number (for example, 13.5) must not exceed the maximum number of coroners that is for the time being permitted by subsection (1).

    Compare: 1947 No 16 s 5(2), (2A)

110 Salaries and allowances
  • (1) There must be paid to coroners (including the chief coroner and any relief coroners), out of public money, without further authority than this section,—

    • (a) salaries at the rates from time to time determined by the Remuneration Authority; and

    • (b) the allowances from time to time determined by the Remuneration Authority; and

    • (c) the additional allowances (if any), being travelling allowances or incidental or minor allowances, from time to time determined by the Governor-General.

    (2) A coroner's salary must not be diminished during the continuance of the coroner's appointment.

    (3) The salary and allowances payable for a period during which a coroner acts on a part-time basis must be calculated and paid as a pro-rata proportion of the salary and allowances of a full-time equivalent position.

    (4) If the chief coroner ceases to hold that office but continues to hold office as a coroner, his or her salary and allowances may be reduced by the amount of any salary or allowances he or she received solely because of being the chief coroner.

    (5) For the purposes of subsection (2), the payment of salary and allowances on a pro-rata basis under subsection (3) or the payment of reduced salary and allowances under subsection (4) is not a diminution in salary.

    (6) Nothing in this section applies to a person who (under section 8(d) of the District Courts Act 1947) is a coroner by virtue of holding office as a District Court Judge.

    Compare: 1947 No 16 s 6(1)–(2C)

111 When determination under section 110(1) comes into force
  • (1) Unless the Remuneration Authority Act 1977 requires otherwise, a determination made under section 110(1), and any provision of a determination under section 110(1), may be made so as to come into force on a date to be specified in that behalf in the determination, being the date of the making of the determination or any other date, whether before or after the date of the making of the determination or the date of the commencement of this section.

    (2) Every determination under section 110(1), and every provision of any determination under section 110(1), in respect of which no date is specified as provided in subsection (1) of this section, comes into force on the date of the making of the determination.

    Compare: 1947 No 16 s 6(3), (4)

112 Resignation
  • (1) A coroner who is not a District Court Judge may at any time resign the office by written notice to the Attorney-General.

    (2) A relief coroner may at any time resign the office by written notice to the Attorney-General.

    Compare: 1908 No 89 s 26E(2); 1988 No 111 s 33(6)

113 Complaints about coroners
  • (1) Complaints about coroners' conduct may be made, received, and dealt with in accordance with the Judicial Conduct Commissioner and Judicial Conduct Panel Act 2004 because coroners are Judges as defined in section 5 of that Act.

    (2) If a complaint is made about the conduct of the chief coroner and, under section 17 of that Act, the Commissioner or the Deputy Commissioner must refer the complaint to the chief coroner, the Commissioner or the Deputy Commissioner may also refer the complaint to the Attorney-General.

    Section 113(2): amended, on 23 March 2010, by section 15(2) of the Judicial Conduct Commissioner and Judicial Conduct Panel (Deputy Commissioner and Disposal of Complaints) Amendment Act 2010 (2010 No 5).

114 Removal
  • (1) The Governor-General may, if he or she thinks fit, remove a coroner from office for inability or misbehaviour.

    (2) Subsection (1) is subject to sections 33(2) and 34 of the Judicial Conduct Commissioner and Judicial Conduct Panel Act 2004, which prevent removal unless—

    • (a) a Judicial Conduct Panel has reported to the Attorney-General that it is of the opinion that consideration of the removal of the coroner is justified; or

    • (b) the coroner has been convicted of a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment for 2 or more years and the Attorney-General takes steps independently of that Act to initiate the removal of the coroner.

    (3) Nothing in this section applies to a person who (under section 8(d) of the District Courts Act 1947) is a coroner by virtue of holding office as a District Court Judge.

    Compare: 1947 No 16 s 7(1); 1988 No 111 s 34

Administration

115 Police to help coroners' investigations
  • (1) The Commissioner of Police must cause Police employees to help coroners' investigations under this Act.

    (2) This section does not limit section 17.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 37

    Section 115(1): amended, on 1 October 2008, by section 130(1) of the Policing Act 2008 (2008 No 72).

116 Responsible department to provide administrative support
  • (1) The responsible department must provide the administrative support necessary to enable coroners to perform their role efficiently and effectively.

    (2) The nature of that support must be determined from time to time by the Secretary after consultation with the chief coroner.

Powers

117 Coroners' powers and immunities generally
  • (1) For the purpose of performing or exercising a function, power, or duty under this Act, a coroner has the same powers, privileges, authorities, and immunities as a District Court Judge exercising jurisdiction under the Criminal Procedure Act 2011.

    (2) Despite subsection (1), a coroner who is not a District Court Judge has, at all times, the same immunities as a Judge of the High Court.

    (3) In relation to an inquest held by a coroner for the purposes of an inquiry, the coroner has power to—

    • (a) issue summonses for the attendance of witnesses:

    • (b) issue warrants to enforce such summonses:

    • (c) maintain order:

    • (d) administer oaths or affirmations to witnesses:

    • (e) punish for contempt:

    • (f) adjourn proceedings from time to time and place to place.

    (4) Subsection (3) does not limit subsection (1).

    (5) The Criminal Procedure Act 2011, so far as it is applicable and with the necessary modifications, applies to the powers, privileges, authorities, and immunities conferred on coroners by this section.

    (6) Evidence given by a person (whether at an inquest or otherwise) on oath or affirmation administered by a coroner under this section must, for the purposes of section 108 of the Crimes Act 1961 (which relates to perjury), be treated as having been given as evidence in a judicial proceeding on oath.

    (7) Nothing in this section limits any power of a coroner under any other enactment or the application of the Inferior Courts Procedure Act 1909 (which makes further provision for the validity of the judicial proceedings of inferior courts notwithstanding technical or formal errors) in respect of the exercise by a coroner of any judicial authority conferred on the coroner by this Act.

    Compare: 1947 No 16 s 119; 1988 No 111 s 35

    Section 117(1): amended, on 1 July 2013, by section 413 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 (2011 No 81).

    Section 117(5): amended, on 1 July 2013, by section 413 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 (2011 No 81).

118 Coroner may call for investigations or examinations or commission reports
  • (1) A coroner may cause to be made by other persons any investigations or examinations, or commission from them any reports, medical or otherwise, the coroner thinks proper—

    • (a) for the purpose of deciding whether to open an inquiry; or

    • (b) if the coroner is to open an inquiry, or has opened and not completed one.

    (2) Before acting under this section, a coroner must have regard to any relevant practice notes issued under section 132 by the chief coroner.

    (3) This section does not limit or affect a coroner's powers under any other enactment, for example, under section 28 (coroner may call for report on fatal accident) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 12

119 Coroner may refer death to other investigating authorities
  • (1) A coroner conducting an inquiry may refer the death concerned to 1 or more other investigating authorities if the coroner determines that the public interest would be served by the death concerned being investigated by them in the performance or exercise of their functions, powers, or duties.

    (2) A referral under this section does not limit or affect the coroner's role, or the functions, powers, and duties of the other investigating authorities, in relation to the death concerned.

    (3) This section does not limit section 69.

120 Coroner may by written notice require person to supply information or documents or other things
  • (1) A coroner who considers it necessary for the purposes of an inquiry the coroner has opened under this Act may, by written notice served on a person, require that person, within a time specified in the notice,—

    • (a) to give the coroner any information or class of information specified in the notice; or

    • (b) to produce to the coroner, or to a person specified in the notice acting on the coroner's behalf in accordance with the notice, any document or class of documents or other thing specified in the notice.

    (2) The person on whom the notice is served must give or produce a thing (whether the thing is information, a class of information, a document, a class of documents, or any other thing) sought by the notice, except to the extent that the person is excused from doing so by section 121.

    (3) Information given in response to a notice under subsection (1)(a) must be given in writing and,—

    • (a) if given by a natural person, must be signed by the person; and

    • (b) if given by a body corporate, must be signed by an officer authorised to sign on behalf of the body corporate.

    (4) This section does not limit or affect a coroner's powers under any other enactment, for example, under section 28 (coroner may call for report on fatal accident) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.

    Compare: 1986 No 5 s 98; 1999 No 10 s 7(3)

121 Grounds for refusing to comply with written notice
  • (1) A person on whom a notice under section 120 is served is not required by section 120 to give or produce a thing sought by the notice if, and to the extent that,—

    • (a) the person claims within 5 working days after service of the notice that any or all of the grounds in subsection (2) apply to the thing; and

    • (b) the person's claim has not been considered and dismissed by the coroner who issued the notice or by another coroner acting in his or her place, or has been so considered and dismissed, but the dismissal is the subject of, or has been revoked on, an application for review (whether under section 126 or otherwise).

    (2) The grounds referred to in subsection (1) are that the giving or production of the thing sought by the notice—

    • (a) would, if the thing were sought from the person as a witness giving evidence in a court of law, be prevented by a privilege or immunity that the person would have as a witness, or as counsel, in that court:

    • (b) is prevented by an enactment, rule of law, or order or direction of a court that prohibits or restricts the making available of the thing, or the manner in which the thing may be made available:

    • (c) would be likely to prejudice the maintenance of the law (including the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution, and punishment of offences, and the right to a fair trial).

122 Warrant for information, document, or other thing
  • (1) A District Court Judge may issue a warrant for the search of a specified place (including, without limitation, a dwellinghouse or marae), craft, or vehicle if satisfied on an application in writing made on oath by a member of the police that—

    • (a) a coroner (other than the District Court Judge) has issued and had served on a person a notice under section 120 requiring the person, within a time specified in the notice, to give or produce to the coroner any information, class of information, document, class of documents, or other thing, specified in the notice; and

    • (b) the person has failed to comply with the notice (other than because the person is excused from doing so by section 121); and

    • (c) there are reasonable grounds to believe that there is in or on that place, craft, or vehicle any information, class of information, document, class of documents, or other thing, specified in the notice.

    (2) A District Court Judge may also issue a warrant for the search of a specified place (including, without limitation, a dwellinghouse or marae), craft, or vehicle if satisfied on an application in writing made on oath by a member of the police that—

    • (a) a coroner (other than the District Court Judge) has prepared, for issuing and serving on a person, a notice under section 120 requiring the person, within a time specified in the notice, to give or produce to the coroner any information, class of information, document, class of documents, or other thing, specified in the notice, but has not issued and served the notice because paragraph (b) applies; and

    • (b) there are reasonable grounds to believe that a notice of that kind would not be complied with, and that the purpose of a warrant of that kind would be defeated if the warrant were granted after a notice of that kind was issued and served under subsection (1); and

    • (c) there are reasonable grounds to believe that there is in or on that place, craft, or vehicle any information, class of information, document, class of documents, or other thing, specified in the notice.

    (3) A warrant under this section must be in the prescribed form, and must be—

    • (a) directed to and executed by specified members of the police; or

    • (b) directed to the New Zealand Police and executed by any member or members of the police.

    (4) A warrant under this section may be issued subject to any reasonable conditions the District Court Judge specifies in it.

    (5) Those conditions may include conditions intended to ensure that things to which the grounds in section 121(2) apply are, in the execution of the warrant, identified and not obtained.

123 Entry and search under warrant under section 122
  • (1) A warrant under section 122 authorises a member of the police executing the warrant, except as provided in subsection (2),—

    • (a) to enter and search the specified place, craft, or vehicle on 1 occasion within 10 working days of the date of issue of the warrant at any time that is reasonable in the circumstances, but subject to any conditions imposed by the District Court Judge under section 122(4); and

    • (b) to use any assistance that is reasonable in the circumstances; and

    • (c) to use any force for making entry (whether by breaking open doors or otherwise) as is reasonable in the circumstances; and

    • (d) to use any force for breaking open any thing and for searching for, or removing from the place, craft, or vehicle any information, class of information, document, class of documents, or other thing, specified in the relevant notice under section 120, as is reasonable in the circumstances; and

    • (e) to take copies of, or extracts from, or to reproduce in usable form any information in, any documents specified in the relevant notice under section 120; and

    • (f) to require a person at or in the place, craft, or vehicle at the time of entry to do, or to help the member of the police executing the warrant to do, what is specified in paragraph (e).

    (2) No warrant under section 122 authorises a member of the police to take any action in respect of a thing that is being withheld in accordance with section 125.

124 Duties when executing warrant under section 122
  • (1) Every member of the police executing a warrant under section 122 must produce it for inspection upon initial entry and in response to any reasonable request after that and, when requested by or on behalf of the owner or an occupier of the place, person in charge of the craft, or driver or rider of the vehicle, must provide a copy of the warrant no later than 5 working days after the making of the request.

    (2) If the owner or an occupier of the place, person in charge of the craft, or driver or rider of the vehicle being searched is not present at the time of the search, the member of the police executing the warrant must leave in a prominent position at or in the place, craft, or vehicle being searched a written notice stating the date and time of the execution of the warrant and the name of the member of the police in charge of the search.

    (3) A member of the police executing the warrant and who removes from the place, craft, or vehicle being searched any information, class of information, document, class of documents, or other thing, must, within 5 working days after the removal, take all reasonable steps to give the person from whose possession or control the information, class of information, document, class of documents, or other thing was taken written notice of—

    • (a) what has been removed; and

    • (b) the reasons why it has been removed; and

    • (c) where it will be kept until it is returned.

125 Grounds for withholding thing sought by warrant
  • A person may withhold a thing sought by a warrant under section 122 if, and to the extent that,—

    • (a) the person claims, when the warrant is executed, that any or all of the grounds in section 121(2) apply to the thing; and

    • (b) the person's claim has not been considered and dismissed by the District Court Judge who issued the warrant, or by another District Court Judge who is not the coroner who issued, or proposed to issue, the relevant notice under section 120, or has been so considered and dismissed, but the dismissal is the subject of, or has been revoked on, an application for review (whether under section 126 or otherwise).

126 Review of dismissal of claim that section 121(2) applies
  • (1) A person may, within 5 working days of the dismissal, apply to a High Court Judge for a review of the dismissal if—

    (2) The claim must, for the purposes of sections 121 and 125 and 127, be treated as not having been dismissed by the coroner or District Court Judge for the 5 working days referred to in subsection (1) of this section.

    (3) The High Court Judge may (as the case requires), in the Judge's absolute discretion and on any ground the Judge thinks fit, confirm, modify, or revoke the dismissal.

127 Limits on use of information, etc, given or produced in response to notice under section 120 or obtained through execution of warrant under section 122
  • (1) This section applies to any information, document, or other thing given or produced by a person in response to a notice under section 120, or obtained through the execution of a warrant issued under section 122 (the thing).

    (2) The thing may be used only for the purposes of the inquiry concerned, and may be used for those purposes only if that use is not prohibited by subsection (4).

    (3) In particular, the thing is not admissible as evidence against any person in any court or at any other inquiry or in any other proceedings except—

    • (a) on a prosecution of the person for an offence against section 135 (false or misleading statements and documents) in relation to the document; or

    • (b) on the trial of the person for perjury (within the meaning of the Crimes Act 1961) in relation to evidence given on oath or affirmation by the person.

    (4) However, the thing cannot be used for the purposes of the inquiry concerned if the person who gave or produced it, or from whom it was obtained, claims, within 5 working days after it was given, produced, or obtained, that any or all of the grounds in section 121(2) apply to it, and that person's claim—

    • (a) has not been considered and dismissed by—

      • (i) the District Court Judge who issued the warrant, or by another District Court Judge who is not the coroner who issued, or proposed to issue, the relevant notice under section 120, if the thing was obtained through the execution of a warrant issued under section 122; or

      • (ii) the coroner who issued the notice or by another coroner acting in his or her place, if the thing was given or produced in response to a notice under section 120; or

    • (b) has been so considered and dismissed, but the dismissal is the subject of, or has been revoked on, an application for review (whether under section 126 or otherwise).

    (5) The thing must be returned to the person who gave or produced it, or from whom it was obtained, once it is no longer needed for the purposes of the inquiry concerned or for the purposes of a prosecution or trial referred to in subsection (3).

    Compare: 1975 No 9 s 19(6)

128 Warrant for removal of body
  • (1) A District Court Judge may issue a warrant for the removal of a body from a specified place (including, without limitation, a dwellinghouse or marae), craft, or vehicle if satisfied on an application in writing made on oath by a member of the police that—

    • (a) a coroner (other than the District Court Judge) has given directions about the removal of the body under section 20; and

    • (b) there are reasonable grounds to believe that the body is being held in or on that place, craft, or vehicle contrary to the directions; and

    • (c) the New Zealand Police has, despite having already used negotiation and all other means that are reasonable in the circumstances, failed to secure the release of the body from that place, craft, or vehicle in accordance with the directions.

    (2) The warrant must be in the prescribed form, and must be—

    • (a) directed to and executed by specified members of the police; or

    • (b) directed to the New Zealand Police and executed by any member or members of the police.

    (3) The warrant may be issued subject to any reasonable conditions the District Court Judge specifies in it.

129 Entry and search under warrant under section 128
  • A warrant under section 128 authorises a member of the police executing the warrant—

    • (a) to enter and search the specified place, craft, or vehicle on 1 occasion within 2 working days of the date of issue of the warrant at any time that is reasonable in the circumstances, but subject to any conditions imposed by the District Court Judge under section 128(3); and

    • (b) to use any assistance that is reasonable in the circumstances; and

    • (c) to use any force for making entry (whether by breaking open doors or otherwise), or for breaking open any thing, as is reasonable in the circumstances; and

    • (d) to use any force that is reasonable in the circumstances for searching for the body in or on, or for removing the body or for preventing the removal of the body from, the place, craft, or vehicle.

130 Warrant under section 128 to be produced
  • (1) Every member of the police executing a warrant under section 128 must produce it for inspection upon initial entry and in response to any reasonable request after that and, when requested by or on behalf of the owner or an occupier of the place, person in charge of the craft, or driver or rider of the vehicle, must provide a copy of the warrant no later than 5 working days after the making of the request.

    (2) If the owner or an occupier of the place, person in charge of the craft, or driver or rider of the vehicle being searched is not present at the time of the search, the member of the police executing the warrant must leave in a prominent position at or in the place, craft, or vehicle being searched a written notice stating the date and time of the execution of the warrant and the name of the member of the police in charge of the search.

131 Power to seize evidence relevant to post-mortem
  • (1) A member of the police complying with, or helping to ensure compliance with, a direction about the removal of a body under section 20, or executing a warrant for the removal of a body under section 128, may, using any force reasonably necessary in the circumstances, seize a thing—

    • (a) on, or in the immediate vicinity of, the body as found in the place, craft, or vehicle from which it is being removed; and

    • (b) that the member of the police believes on reasonable grounds is or may be relevant to the post-mortem of the body directed under section 31.

    (2) Within 5 working days after seizing a thing under subsection (1), the member of the police must take all reasonable steps to inform the owner or occupier of the place, person in charge of the craft, or driver or rider of the vehicle from which the body is removed, or the person from whose possession or control the thing was seized, of the fact that the thing was seized and of the place from where it was seized.

    (3) The member of the police may inform the owner or occupier, person in charge, or driver or rider by delivering to him or her a written notice containing that information, or by leaving a notice of that kind in a prominent position at or in the place, craft, or vehicle from which the body is removed.

    (4) Any thing seized under subsection (1) must be delivered to the coroner who directed under section 31 the post-mortem of the body and must if practicable be returned promptly once it is no longer needed for the purposes of that post-mortem.

132 Chief coroner may issue practice notes
  • (1) To help to inform, and to achieve consistency in, coronial decision-making and other coronial conduct, the chief coroner may issue to coroners written practice notes (not inconsistent with this Act).

    (2) Section 6 requires a coroner, in performing or exercising a function, power, or duty, to have regard to any practice note issued under this section that is relevant to the performance or exercise of the function, power, or duty.

    (3) Practice notes under this section may specify matters to which coroners must have regard in—

    • (a) determining whether to authorise the making public of certain details of self-inflicted deaths (see section 71(4)(b)):

    • (b) recommending to the chief coroner that a specialist adviser be appointed to sit with and help the coroner at an inquest (see section 83(2)):

    • (d) calling for investigations or examinations, or commissioning reports (see section 118(2)).

    (4) Subsection (3) does not limit subsection (1).

    (5) Before issuing a practice note (or an amendment, revocation, or replacement of a practice note) under this section, the chief coroner must take all reasonable steps to consult other coroners on the terms and effect of that practice note (or of that amendment, revocation, or replacement of a practice note).

133 Chief coroner must designate coroners for specified deaths
  • (1) The chief coroner must from time to time, by notice in writing copied to the coroners concerned and to the New Zealand Police, designate coroners to receive reports of, and perform every other part of the coroner's role in relation to, all deaths that—

    • (a) occur in a specified area; or

    • (b) fall into another specified class.

    (2) The chief coroner may at any time in the same way amend, revoke, or revoke and replace a designation under this section.

Offences and penalties

134 Failure to supply information or documents or other things as required by coroner's notice under section 120
  • Every person commits an offence against this section, and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000, who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with a notice under section 120 (coroner may by written notice require person to supply information or documents or other things) to the extent that the person is capable of complying with it.

    Compare: 1999 No 10 s 8

    Section 134: amended, on 1 July 2013, by section 413 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 (2011 No 81).

135 False or misleading statements and omissions in certain documents
  • (1) Every person commits an offence against this section, and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000, who, in any document to which subsection (2) applies, makes a statement or omits any matter knowing that, or being reckless as to whether, the statement or omission makes the document false or misleading in a material particular.

    (2) This subsection applies to the following documents:

    • (b) a witness's evidence put into writing, read over to or by the witness, and signed by the witness, in accordance with section 79(3):

    • (c) reports commissioned by a coroner under section 118:

    • (d) documents prepared under section 120(1)(a) (coroner may by written notice require person to supply information or documents or other things).

    Compare: 1999 No 10 s 9

    Section 135(1): amended, on 1 July 2013, by section 413 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 (2011 No 81).

136 Non-compliance with direction about removal of body
  • Every person commits an offence against this section, and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $2,000, who—

    • (a) fails or refuses to comply with a direction about the removal of a body under section 20; or

    • (b) hinders or prevents any person from complying with a direction about the removal of a body under section 20.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 43(2)

    Section 136: amended, on 1 July 2013, by section 413 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 (2011 No 81).

137 Failure or refusal to give report required
  • Every pathologist or doctor commits an offence against this section, and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000, who, without reasonable excuse, fails or refuses to give to a coroner a report required under—

    • (b) section 40 (coroner may require person's doctor to report).

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 43(1)

    Section 137: amended, on 1 July 2013, by section 413 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 (2011 No 81).

138 False or misleading statement for purposes of section 64(3)
  • Every person commits an offence against this section, and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years, who makes a written statement as to the identity of a person for the purposes of section 64(3) (duties of coroner who decides not to open inquiry)—

    • (a) knowing the statement to be false; and

    • (b) intending to mislead people who might rely upon it.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 43(4)

    Section 138: amended, on 1 July 2013, by section 413 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 (2011 No 81).

139 Publication of information in contravention of section 71 or prohibition under section 74
  • Every person commits an offence against this section, and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 in the case of a body corporate, or $1,000 in any other case, who publishes or permits to be published any information in contravention of—

    • (a) section 71 (which relates to restrictions on the making public of details of self-inflicted deaths); or

    • (b) a prohibition under section 74 (which empowers the coroner to prohibit the making public of evidence given at any part of inquiry proceedings).

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 43(3)

    Section 139: amended, on 1 July 2013, by section 413 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 (2011 No 81).

Technical provisions

140 Regulations
  • The Governor-General may, by Order in Council, make regulations for either or both of the following purposes:

    • (a) prescribing salaries, fees, allowances, and travelling allowances and expenses, for specialist advisers, witnesses, doctors, analysts, and pathologists, who perform any function under this Act or give evidence for the purposes of an inquiry conducted, or at an inquest held, under this Act:

    • (b) providing for any other matters contemplated by this Act, necessary for its administration, or necessary for giving it full effect.

    Compare: 1988 No 111 s 45

    Section 140(a): amended, on 7 July 2010, by section 4 of the Coroners Amendment Act 2010 (2010 No 56).

141 Transitional provisions: amendments to Coroners Act 1988 effective day after assent are in Schedule 1
142 Transitional provisions: functions or powers available day after assent are in Schedule 2
  • (1) Schedule 2 specifies functions or powers under this Act (including powers to appoint coroners and a chief coroner) that may be performed or exercised before the commencement of the provisions specified in section 2(2).

    (2) Those functions or powers may not be performed or exercised if anything that results from performing or exercising them comes into force or takes effect before that commencement unless the performance or exercise of the functions or powers is necessary or desirable for, or in connection with, that commencement.

    (3) Subsection (1) and Schedule 2 apply as if the enactment under which the function is performed or the power is exercised and any other enactment that is not in force when the function is performed or the power is exercised were in force when the function is performed or the power is exercised.

    (4) Nothing in this section limits the application of the Interpretation Act 1999.

143 Coroners Act 1988 repealed
144 Transitional provisions: arrangements effective on and after 1 July 2007 are in Schedule 3
145 Amendments relating to complaints against coroners are in Schedule 4
146 Consequential amendments are in Schedule 5
  • The Acts listed in Schedule 5 are amended in the manner indicated in that schedule.


Schedule 1
Amendments to Coroners Act 1988 effective day after assent

s 141

Section 32

Insert after subsection (2):

  • (2A) Every appointment under this section after the commencement of section 141 of the Coroners Act 2006 must be for a term that ends before 1 July 2007 and that is specified in the warrant of appointment.

Section 33

Subsection (4): repeal and substitute:

  • (4) No person may be appointed under subsection (3)—

    • (a) for a term that, when added to that person's previous terms of appointment under that subsection, results in a sum that exceeds 2 years; or

    • (b) on or after the commencement of section 141 of the Coroners Act 2006 and for a term that ends after 30 June 2007.


Schedule 2
Functions or powers available day after assent

s 142

  • 1 The power to appoint coroners under section 103.

  • 2 The power to appoint relief coroners under section 104.

  • 3 The power to appoint a chief coroner under section 105.

  • 4 The power to appoint an acting chief coroner under section 106.

  • 5 The chief coroner's functions under section 7.


Schedule 3
Arrangements effective on and after 1 July 2007

s 144

  • 1 In this schedule, former Act means the Coroners Act 1988, and former coroner,—

    • (a) means a person who, immediately before the repeal of the former Act by section 143, held office under the former Act as a coroner or deputy coroner; and

    • (b) in clauses 7, 8, 14 to 16, and 18, includes a person who, at any time before the repeal of the former Act,—

      • (i) held office under the former Act as a coroner or deputy coroner; or

      • (ii) was (under section 8(d) of the District Courts Act 1947) a coroner by virtue of holding office as a District Court Judge.

  • 2 On the repeal of the former Act, every former coroner vacates office under that Act as a coroner or deputy coroner.

  • 3 No former coroner is entitled to compensation for loss of office as a coroner or deputy coroner under clause 2.

  • 4 A former coroner may nevertheless continue in office under the former Act for the period reasonably necessary to enable him or her to complete, under that Act (which remains in force for these purposes as if it had not been repealed),—

    • (a) every inquest he or she was holding, and had not completed, immediately before the repeal of that Act; and

    • (b) the performance or exercise of his or her functions, powers, and duties under that Act in respect of every death reported to him or her before the repeal of that Act.

  • 5 The salaries, fees, allowances, and travelling allowances and expenses payable to former coroners who continue in office in accordance with clause 4 (and to any coroners who under clause 6 replace those former coroners) are those prescribed by regulations made under section 45 of the former Act.

  • 6 A former coroner who continues in office under clause 4 may resign or be removed under section 33 or 34 of the former Act and, if that occurs, a coroner may be appointed under that Act to replace that former coroner for the period and the purposes for which that former coroner would otherwise have continued in office under clause 4.

  • 7 Every post-mortem examination that a former coroner or a Justice has authorised a doctor to perform under the former Act and that, on the repeal of that Act, has not been completed, must be performed and completed (with all associated reports required also being completed) under that Act (which remains in force for these purposes as if it had not been repealed).

  • 8 An authorisation by a former coroner or a Justice for the disposal of a body under section 13 of the former Act (whether before its repeal or as continued in force for the purposes specified in clause 4) must, on and after the repeal of that Act, be treated as if it were an authorisation for the release of the body under section 42 of this Act.

  • 9 If the High Court has ordered under section 39 of the former Act that a doctor be authorised to perform a post-mortem examination and, on the repeal of that Act, the post-mortem examination has not been authorised or completed, it must be authorised, performed, and completed under that Act (which remains in force for these purposes as if it had not been repealed).

  • 10 The salaries, fees, allowances, and travelling allowances and expenses payable to doctors, analysts, and pathologists who perform any function in connection with a post-mortem examination referred to in clause 7 or 9 are those prescribed by regulations made under section 45 of the former Act.

  • 11 An application to the High Court under section 39 of the former Act and that, on the repeal of that Act, has not been determined, must be determined as if it were an application under section 41 of this Act.

  • 12 A Justice to whom a death is reported in accordance with section 6(1) of the former Act and who, on the repeal of that Act, has not completed his or her performance or exercise of the functions and powers conferred by section 6(2) of that Act, must complete his or her performance or exercise of those functions and powers (which remain in force as if that Act had not been repealed).

  • 13 A person who (under section 8(d) of the District Courts Act 1947) is a coroner by virtue of holding office as a District Court Judge and, on the repeal of the former Act, has not completed in relation to a death reported to him or her under that Act his or her performance or exercise of the functions and powers conferred by that Act, must complete his or her performance or exercise of those functions and powers (which remain in force as if that Act had not been repealed).

  • 14 If a former coroner or a Justice has, under section 20 of the former Act, decided not to hold an inquest, a coroner as defined in section 10 of this Act (coroner A) may, under section 65 of this Act, decide to open an inquiry as if the former coroner's decision not to hold an inquest were a decision by coroner A not to open an inquiry.

  • 15 The reference in section 95 to a coroner failing or refusing to open an inquiry includes a reference to a former coroner or a Justice failing or refusing to hold an inquest under the former Act.

  • 16 The reference in section 96 to a coroner deciding not to open an inquiry into a death includes a reference to a former coroner or a Justice deciding under the former Act not to hold an inquest into the death.

  • 17 The reference in section 97 to 1 or more inquiries conducted into a death includes a reference to 1 or more inquests held into the death under the former Act.

  • 18 The references in sections 103(2) and 104(2) to people who have held a practising certificate as a barrister or solicitor for at least 5 years include a reference to former coroners who have held a certificate of that kind for a shorter period.


Schedule 4
Amendments to Judicial Conduct Commissioner and Judicial Conduct Panel Act 2004

s 145

Section 5

Insert after the definition of complaint or complaint about a Judge:

coroner means a person who is not a District Court Judge, but holds office as the chief coroner or acting chief coroner, or as a coroner or relief coroner, under the Coroners Act 2006

District Court Judge includes a District Court Judge who—

  • (a) holds office as the chief coroner or acting chief coroner, or as a relief coroner, under the Coroners Act 2006, or is (under section 8(d) of the District Courts Act 1947) a coroner by virtue of holding office as a District Court Judge; and

  • (b) is exercising the judicial authority conferred on a coroner by the Coroners Act 2006.

Paragraph (h) of the definition of Head of Bench: repeal and substitute:

  • (h) in relation to the Maori Land Court, the Chief Judge of the Maori Land Court:

  • (i) in relation to a coroner, the chief coroner.

Paragraph (a)(viii) of the definition of Judge: repeal and substitute:

  • (viii) a Judge of the Maori Land Court; or

  • (ix) a coroner; and.

Section 17

Add:

  • (3) This section is subject to section 113(2) of the Coroners Act 2006 (which relates to complaints about the chief coroner).


Schedule 5
Consequential amendments

s 146

Armed Forces Discipline Act 1971 (1971 No 53)

Section 175(3): omit Coroners Act 1988 and substitute Coroners Act 2006.

Armed Forces Discipline Amendment Act 1997 (1997 No 34)

Schedule: repeal so much as relates to section 175 of the Armed Forces Discipline Act 1971.

Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration Act 1995 (1995 No 16)

Definition of coroner's order in section 2: omit order by and substitute authorisation by.

Definition of coroner's order in section 2: omit disposal and substitute release.

Section 37(3): repeal and substitute:

  • (3) If a death must under section 14(2) of the Coroners Act 2006 be reported to the New Zealand Police because it is one to which section 13 (except subsection (1)(b)) of that Act applies, or has been reported to a coroner under section 15(2)(a) or section 16(2)(b) of that Act, a doctor must not give a doctor's certificate for the death under subsection (1) unless a coroner has decided not to open an inquiry into the death.

Section 38(1): omit Notwithstanding that a death may have been reported to the police under section 4 of the Coroners Act 1988, and substitute Even though a death may have been reported to the New Zealand Police under section 14 of the Coroners Act 2006,.

Section 38(1)(f): omit Coroners Act 1988 requires an inquest to be held and substitute Coroners Act 2006 requires an inquiry to be conducted.

Section 38(2): omit under section 4 of the Coroners Act 1988 and substitute to a coroner under section 15(2)(a) or section 16(2)(b) of the Coroners Act 2006.

Section 40(2)(b)(ii): omit authorised and substitute directed.

Section 48(2): omit inquest and substitute inquiry.

Burial and Cremation Act 1964 (1964 No 75)

Section 46A(c): repeal and substitute:

  • (c) a coroner's authorisation for the release of the child.

Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989 (1989 No 24)

Schedule 2: repeal so much as relates to the Coroners Act 1988.

Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Amendment Act 1994 (1994 No 121)

Section 48: repeal.

Corrections Act 2004 (2004 No 50)

Schedule 2: repeal so much as relates to the Coroners Act 1988.

Part 1 of Schedule 4: repeal so much as relates to the Coroners Act 1988.

Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act 2003 (2003 No 115)

Schedule: repeal so much as relates to the Coroners Act 1988.

Department of Justice (Restructuring) Act 1995 (1995 No 39)

Schedule 1: repeal so much as relates to the Coroners Act 1988.

District Courts Act 1947 (1947 No 16)

Insert after section 7(1):

  • (1A) To avoid doubt, a Judge may be removed under subsection (1) for inability or misbehaviour related to the exercise, contemplated by section 8(d), of the judicial authority conferred on a coroner by the Coroners Act 2006.

Evidence Act 1908 (1908 No 56)

Section 23B(1)(c): omit inquest and substitute inquiry.

Friendly Societies and Credit Unions Act 1982 (1982 No 118)

Section 45(2): omit inquest or.

Health Act 1956 (1956 No 65)

Section 84(1)(a): repeal and substitute:

  • (a) provide, equip, and maintain places for the reception of dead bodies (mortuaries) pending the carrying out of any post-mortem examination or until removal for interment, and provide facilities for carrying out in the mortuaries post-mortems authorised or directed under the Coroners Act 2006 or under any other enactment and for making good for burial dead bodies on which post-mortems of that kind have been carried out:.

Health and Disability Services (Safety) Act 2001 (2001 No 93)

Section 31(5)(c): omit Coroners Act 1988 and substitute Coroners Act 2006.

Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (2003 No 48)

Section 67(b)(iv): omit Coroners Act 1988 and substitute Coroners Act 2006.

Section 100(2)(a)(iv): omit Coroners Act 1988 and substitute Coroners Act 2006.

Schedule 4: repeal so much as relates to the Coroners Act 1988.

Human Tissue Act 1964 (1964 No 19)

[Item(s) repealed]

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992 (1992 No 46)

Schedule 3: repeal so much as relates to the Coroners Act 1988.

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Amendment Act 1999 (1999 No 140)

Section 79: repeal.

Relationships (Statutory References) Act 2005 (2005 No 3)

Schedule 1: repeal so much as relates to the Coroners Act 1988.

Remuneration Authority Act 1977 (1977 No 110)

Section 12B(1)(e): repeal and substitute:

  • (e) the Associate Judges of the High Court; and

  • (f) the chief coroner and the other coroners (other than a person who (under section 8(d) of the District Courts Act 1947) is a coroner by virtue of holding office as a District Court Judge).

Transport Accident Investigation Commission Act 1990 (1990 No 99)

Section 14N(a): omit inquest and substitute inquiry.

Visiting Forces Act 2004 (2004 No 59)

Heading to section 19: omit Inquests and substitute Inquiries.

Section 19(1) and (6): omit section 5 of the Coroners Act 1988 in both places where it occurs and substitute in each case section 15(2)(a) or section 16(2)(b) of the Coroners Act 2006.

Section 19(1)(a) and (b): repeal and substitute:

  • (a) if the coroner has not opened an inquiry into the death, he or she must not open an inquiry into the death:

  • (b) if an inquiry has been opened but is not then completed, the coroner must adjourn the inquiry.

Section 19(4)(b): repeal and substitute:

  • (b) the provisions of the Coroners Act 2006, except section 25 (which relates to viewing, touching, or remaining with or near the body).

Section 19(6)(a): repeal and substitute:

  • (a) if the coroner has not opened an inquiry into the death, he or she must not open an inquiry into the death until the criminal or disciplinary proceedings against the person have been finally concluded:.

Section 19(6)(b): omit inquest in both places where it occurs and substitute in each case inquiry.

Schedule 2: repeal so much as relates to the Coroners Act 1988.

Schedule 5 Human Tissue Act 1964: item(s) repealed, on 1 November 2008, by section 92 of the Human Tissue Act 2008 (2008 No 28).


Reprints notes
1 General
  • This is a reprint of the Coroners Act 2006 that incorporates all the amendments to that Act as at the date of the last amendment to it.

2 Legal status
  • Reprints are presumed to correctly state, as at the date of the reprint, the law enacted by the principal enactment and by any amendments to that enactment. Section 18 of the Legislation Act 2012 provides that this reprint, published in electronic form, will have the status of an official version once issued by the Chief Parliamentary Counsel under section 17(1) of that Act.

3 Editorial and format changes
4 Amendments incorporated in this reprint